You could view conflict as a sign that someone or something is wrong. That attitude makes conflict something to avoid and the solution would seem to be to control the other person or people.
Or you could see conflict as natural, occurring because people care. Something that can be handled. And if handled by “win-win” methods, conflict can be enriching and can help create new ways to cooperate.
In a conflict, it’s important to see what you have in common. If nothing else, we’re all human. Stay connected to the other person’s humanity.
That was one eye-opening message I took home from the first night of a 6-week course being taught by Kit Miller and Malik Thompson from the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Rochester.
It’s so easy to see conflict as a problem. It mucks things up, right? But how much happier life could be if we can see someone’s contrary view as a sign that he or she really cares about the issue. Look for each person’s underlying needs. Assume we can find a way to meet them that serves both of us.
The course: Nonviolent Communication, an approach and training created by American psychology Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. (1934-2015). Special thanks to First Unitarian Church of Rochester for hosting the classes.