Conflict is a normal part of our life. We all strive to be happy and avoid conflicts with others. Needless to say, a group of people can’t be expected to agree on everything.
When conflicts arise between outsiders, we don’t feel bad or worry about it. But when it comes to our beloved family and friends, things are different. We get confused about whether to give up on our choices and put their happiness before ours. When they disallow our decisions, we feel resentful and hurtful, and start behaving explosively and angry. Sometimes this can also adversely affect our mental health and turn us into stone-hearted or unsympathetic evil beings.
Conflicts arise from differences, they may be large or small. They occur when people disagree over their motives, values, ideas, and perceptions. The most common and major conflicts we face in our lives are caused when parents/others and well-wishers, impose their decisions on their children and disregard their aspirations.
The furious Queen of Hearts who shouts “Off with their heads!” was not always so angry. Before she became heartless, she was just another young girl with ambitions for a bakery of her own. With her dreams getting crushed under the conflict of interest between her and her parents, who would rather have her marry the king, the differences in opinions and the inability to resolve them smoothly, turned her into an insensitive and hard-hearted person.
Considering her heart-breaking story, we must understand that “The key is not to avoid conflict but to learn how to resolve it in a healthy way.” When conflicts are handled in such an unhealthy manner, they can cause irreparable rifts, resentments, disappointments, and break-ups.
But when a conflict is resolved in a healthy way, it increases our understanding of the other person, builds trust, and strengthens our relationships.
How do we ensure it is resolved in a healthy and mutualistic manner?
We must start this by realizing that nobody is wrong and no perspective is wrong. Perspective is just the lens through which we see things, and lenses can’t be wrong. However, the conclusions that we draw from our perspectives can certainly be inaccurate. Therefore it is the conclusions that need shaping, moulding, and cleaning, not the other’s perspective.
We must give others the freedom to express their opinions without hesitation. We should never disregard others’ aspirations and happiness, just because we assume they are too immature to know what is good for them. While our intentions may come from a good place, an honest consideration of, perhaps, what interests them instead is paramount to their happiness.
We should try not to decide the right path for our beloved ones but make sure they follow their desired path righteously.
Subsequently, we should start thinking broadly and see situations through different perspectives and appreciate their point of view.
However, just changing our ways of thinking will not help us resolve a conflict smoothly. The most important part of this goal is to monitor our behaviour during the conversation. We must put all our efforts towards listening to others and understanding their viewpoints by seeing through their lenses. We should be humble and respectful enough to accommodate, adjust, and collaborate during the discussion. Most importantly, we must develop the ability to seek compromise, avoid punishing and blaming.
Lastly, we must realize that our aim is not to involve in a debate but to have a friendly discussion. Not to merely determine who is right or not, but to come to a collective decision that is for everyone’s best.
Let’s turn conflicts in our relationships as a tool to build stronger bonds. Let’s give everyone a chance to express their views and opinions. Let us be receptive and understand others’ feelings. So that no stories of our lives end up in pain and sorrow but with memories of happy moments.
This article is inspired by the origin story of the Queen of Hearts from the book “Heartless” written by Marissa Meyer.