Managing the unwanted but unavoidable source of growth
Conflict is inevitable in life. Nothing strange there. I think the source of all conflict is the self — fanned to flame by scarcity. Sometimes, the Self is even in conflict with itself! How much more so when it is between distinct, separate selves. I can hear how this might sound a little bookish, but I honestly don’t have any other words to process it. I think what I’m trying to say is that put two or more people together in the same space (physical or virtual) for a while, and they’ll find something, anything to bicker about.
It’s almost as if conflict is a natural progression in the scheme of things. But the modern workplace…at least my tiny slice of it, seems constructed to ignore, minimise or avoid it all together. So we have rule books, culture documents, codes of conduct and the likes, all in an attempt to legislate the desired behaviour. With the hopes that if everybody acted a certain way, there’d be no conflict.
How’s that working out?
This is my idea, nothing novel, just processing on virtual ink and paper (screen?). What if conflict is neutral? Neither good or bad? What if we could derive gains or losses from conflict depending on how we engage in it and how we move on from it? Again, I am reminded of a previous post about toxicity. Could we similarly view it as a transient but necessary phase on the path to growth? These thoughts are awkward for me personally, as I generally tend to avoid or suppress conflict. So it’s a bit much for me right now to think that my whole life I might have been passing up on opportunities for growth.
Here’s a closing thought: I am aware that there are so many deep layers to this. On the dark end of the spectrum, we have things like wars, ethnic and religious cleansing etc. So this is not some featherweight of a subject. And I’m wondering if the principles I’m seeking out can be truly universal in the sense that they can apply to all forms of conflict. Hmmm…could there be things that help with things like frustration with a lazy team mate or irritation with your unreasonable boss, and other wider, deeper, more sinister forms of conflict?
I already feel like I’m in over my head.