It is interesting how, with age I gain perspective, and with this perspective, I am more willing to see unpleasant situations as opportunities to grow rather than potential mini-apocalypses.
I have never liked conflict. I have always been afraid of ending up in an argument because conflict for me has always seemed as the end of something. It has taken me a while to understand that this is my attitude towards conflict, and that it is not healthy. I think it is because I know that when in conflict, we show our worst side, and I have always been afraid of my own behaviour when angry and maybe even worse, getting hurt and disappointed.
I have also seen conflict as a sign of irreconcilable differences. If we fight now, it must be because we shouldn’t even be talking to each other in the first place.
I have had a similar attitude towards chaos. I don’t like chaos. It makes me feel out of control. I don’t necessarily feel the need to be in control all the time, but I do feel that it is expected from me- as an adult, as a mum, as a teacher, as a wife- that I am in control of all situations and especially of myself. So, if I end up being in the middle of chaos, I panic, I loose patience, and I feel low self-esteem.
However, during the last few weeks, I have been changing my mind towards these two dreaded situations, and I am starting to think that they are necessary for us to recenter ourselves, create change around us and allow growth.
The key is to not let ego get in the way which, as usual, is easier said than done. Usually, when conflict arises, it is because there is a need to stop, evaluate and consider realigning ourselves. It is also a great opportunity for us to revisit our values and priorities and act accordingly. Sometimes, this might mean that we have to let go of a certain idea we have of ourself, the other or the situation we are in for the benefit of the whole.
Sometimes, when we are in the middle of a conflict, we might feel that the opposing parties want completely different things, but if we look closer, we might realise that the needs at each extreme are the same, only manifested or expressed in different ways. This can help us open up, listen, and meet the other part half-way.
Conflict and chaos, in my opinion, are not that different. They often arise when the need of a change of direction is necessary. They arise to wake us up and give us the opportunity to see things from a different perspective, learn something new and thus grow.
It does happen, that sometimes, a conflict opens up our eyes to the fact that we need to move in a different direction than the other part, and although this is sad, it is also an opportunity to let go and allow for something new to come.