Conflict Resolution: How to Avoid or Resolve Disagreements

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The duality of life theory states that there is something positive in everything negative and the other way around. It is therefore important to learn conflict resolution skills and avoid conflict as much as possible since it is always easy to find something we don’t like or agree with. Just look around and you will find that something in yourself, in others around you, and in your surroundings with which you don’t totally agree. This is not to say that we can’t find something positive in things that are negative, too, which is why the duality of life becomes the first guideline in the conflict resolution tool kit. 

We are incomplete and so is Everyone Else

No one is perfect. I’m not perfect. You are not perfect, and everyone else is the same. Yes, we all strive towards perfection, but this search can create unnecessary stress, since perfection by its definition is impossible. As such, we all need to accept certain imperfections in ourselves, the lives of others, and the world overall. When we find these imperfections, we should be more mindful and compassionate towards them since everything and everyone is imperfect. 

In this regard, personally, I like to look for something I like in everyone I am speaking to. Certainly, because of the duality of life, I can find something I like about them. This lets me connect to virtually any person in front of me and to keep an overall positive mood. Even in the case of the people whom I don’t like, I can still relate to them on some level. Certainly, I don’t have to stick around these people who I dislike, but it helps to know how to woo everyone, especially if we have no choice but to speak to these people.  

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Being Brutally Honest vs Avoiding Conflict

We don’t want to lie, repress feelings, or sugar coat certain things in life, especially if they need to be expressed. Still, we don’t necessarily need to be brutally honest with each other and tell them how we feel about every little thing. 

Rather, it is helpful to choose our battles and just keep our mouth shut when it comes to small things we don’t fully agree with, since, if we want, we can always find something to fight over. 

Being Positive is Not a Sign of Weakness

Furthermore, an overall positive approach will release unnecessary tensions and make the situation more manageable. This is not to say that we need to roll over and accept whatever comes our way, show weakness, or to put ourselves in second place. No. Being positive does not mean that we are weak. Instead, it is the happy people who are strong, since it does not take any extra effort to feel unhappy. Just do what you are doing and you will get the same results. Easy. Conversely, learning, applying, and maintaining the lessons of happiness take effort and practice. 

It is therefore a sign of strength if someone manages to be happy. At the very least, it says that this person’s life is going well at that precise moment, especially because there are more than enough things to be unhappy about in the modern world. 

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Superiority of Happiness

Furthermore, positive people don’t just roll over and show their bellies to those who try to hurt them. No. They are happy primarily for themselves and not for others, since they realize that being happy is better than being unhappy, even if it is on a subconscious level. On a conscious level, many studies confirm clear superiority of happiness over negative feelings, for example, on average happy people:

  • Are more creative
  • Are more productive
  • Earn more money
  • Live longer
  • Have more and better relationships
  • Enjoy life more; and 
  • Are more spiritually fulfilled 

There are countless other benefits to being happy, too many to list here, all of which come from the scientific conclusion that being happy is better than being unhappy on a quite tangible and materialistic scale. 

Avoiding Conflict in Different Places in Life

At work: Robert Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Company, states that the number one skill he uses in his management is optimism. This is not surprising, since work is known to be one of the most stressful activities we can do in life. At work, we constantly need to figure out something new. We have performance anxiety, social pressure, deadline pressures, and so on. Simply said, if possible, we need to keep a cheerful attitude and avoid any additional conflict as much as possible. 

In relationships: The best and longest relationships are usually among these people who manage to still like each other over this long period. Certainly, this happens with a certain level of turbulence, since, as mentioned before, we are all incomplete. Moreover, people change, situations arise, and we all are confronted with certain aspects of each other which we ideally would like to avoid.

This is where conflict resolution comes in. In the best relationships, people learn to solve their disagreements over a longer period, which they do, for example, by not sweating over small things, avoiding unnecessary conflict, and trying to be civil whenever a possible, conflict arises.

Don’t Be Afraid of Conflict

Of course, some conflict is necessary, since sometimes we just need to stand up for ourselves. Still, we are not discussing how to “win every argument” here, such as how some books tend to imply. Here we are talking about how to manage our emotions, those of others, and our relationships as a whole so we can bring the best out of ourselves and others. As such, while we can say that some conflict is necessary and unavoidable, we still need to try to learn to live with each other despite these disagreements, since giving in to them can be quite destructive.

Overall, given our imperfections and the imperfect state of the world, we need to learn to be nice to others and to apply conflict resolution skills whenever possible.

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