Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Value of Conflict

“The greatest conflicts are not between two people but between one person and himself.” ~ Garth Brooks

Great things can come out of conflict, often starting on a personal level. When an event suddenly precipitates, wounds are exposed, giving the individual the opportunity to go through a process of self-cleansing aimed at preventing any additional festering. Conflict can, at times, be destructive, but we must keep in mind that if something is faulty, then we must knock the old structure down before we can rebuild a more solid one.

Generally speaking, salt sprinkled on healthy skin might, at worst, mildly irritate; but, if the same amount of salt is placed on an open wound, it will burn and cause quite a bit of discomfort until the wound is flushed.

Whenever we run into a person, or a situation, which causes excessive annoyance, before we allow emotions to take over and feed the exchange, we should sit back and ask ourselves why we are so irritated. Could it be, somehow, that whatever is causing us so much distress is merely exposing a sore spot within ourselves which we are not wiling to consider?

It is certainly easier to lash out at others for the faults we hide within ourselves, because the “punishment” we receive this way is one we endure by reflection and not by direct self-judgment which may be too harsh to bear. Something the person said touches on a weak point, and in some strange way, what they said unleashes an emotional charge already present inside of us from a past hurt. Once emotions start slipping through, we feel vulnerable, and we become angry; by lashing out we create a boomerang effect, and we are fed the negative energy we didn’t dare throwing at ourselves.

Strangely, we seem to attract into our lives people who mirror our own dark twin, and by dealing with them we learn how to deal with ourselves. Their connection to us might not be immediately apparent, but if one is honest and truly willing to look within, it won’t be long before the tie is identified.

We can’t erase conflict from our lives, but we can change the way we are affected by it if we can train ourselves to see it as a learning tool rather than a hindering block. Conflict on the way is like having a compact mirror with us at all times – we might not like what we see once we look at the reflection, but we now have a tool to begin our improvement.

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