Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.

Ronald Reagan

Some months back I wrote a blog entitled, Drop the Anchor, an article about owning responsibility in times of conflict. Interpersonal conflict can be easy or difficult depending on the personal insight of each participant.

I’m NOT the Problem

One of my thoughtful readers wrote back, “But what if it isn’t my problem? I mean is it always my problem? When does someone else have to take responsibility for their behavior.”  It was a great question, and I love to have conversations with people, so I contacted the writer and we connected the next day! (I love this job!)

I Do My Best

The reality is we can at times do our very best and still have conflicts with others. People get upset and angry. They don’t like our choices. They think they know how to do things better, and that they are right.  However, their being upset doesn’t need to constitute a problem for us.  Unless we choose to let it.

Truth is Variable

The truth is that maybe they are right, maybe they aren’t, or maybe there is no right or wrong. The part that is our problem is the internal chaos that goes on within us.  We cannot change the other person’s thoughts, actions, and behaviors. We can only manage our own, and that is the part that is my problem.

We cannot change what comes out of someone else’s mouth. We cannot change what they say, do or don’t say or do. It’s a free country, and we can think and act as we chose.

Is it Useful

People can criticize us. We may not like it much but that doesn’t stop people from doing it. We can choose to ignore it, feel hurt about it, argue against it, or grow from it.  We can choose to examine if there is any truth in what they say or not. We might find some truth in what they say, and grow from it, or perhaps it doesn’t fit so we can throw it out. What we don’t have to do is swallow what someone else says as the gospel truth, or that possibly any of it’s true. We can simple examine the statement and decide is there something of use for us in it. If not, we can toss it out.  If so, we take what is useful, learn from it, and get rid of the rest.

Ultimately, what comes out of one’s mouth is about them. It is the projected stuff people do not see or want to see about themselves that compels them to place it out in the environment because they don’t have the ego strength to own it for themselves. Of course, we are no exception to this rule.

Interpersonal Conflict, A Personal Lesson

Engaging with others is always a learning opportunity. The bigger the conflict the more we learn about ourselves, and about the other person. As our awareness increases we can improve our skills, and move forward with our lives. Conflicts serve to teach us useful life lessons, if we choose to learn from them.

Want to learn more? Contact me.

Drop the Anchor

What are the Benefits of Good Conflict Resolution Skills?

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