Conflict resolution

An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind – Mahatma Gandhi.
How do you perceive conflict? A volcano that is about to erupt? A hurricane? Like slow dancing barefoot on broken shards of glass? These are just a few examples of metaphors I’ve heard about how people see conflict. What is conflict for you? The metaphor you provide is important because it often reflects how you think and feel about conflict. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If you think that conflict is kind of a plague, you’d probably want to avoid that and everybody else that has it too. Guys, what if I tell you that conflict is not good or bad? What if conflict was an energy source for creativity, innovation and transformation.
Conflict is not the problem, the choice to defuse it rather that use it, that’s the problem. And today I’m going to introduce you to two magic ingredients that if you use them in a conflict situation it will turn conflict into creativity in an instant.
The first magic ingredient is vulnerability. You might be thinking What? Vulnerable? At work, business is around of invincibility, but we are talking about a team, where relationships matter, and vulnerability is a key. Vulnerability is not about being weak, it’s about my willingness to let myself seen, to share who I really am, how I really feel, even my mistakes, to share the needs that I have that are below the surface. When I’m vulnerable I take off my armor of justification and defensiveness. It can be really terrifying! But when I get the courage to actually stand up and say what I really think and feel, even my anger I actually stop managing what people around me think and feel as a perception and I land inside my own shoes and I can connect from there and I reclaim more of me, my voice, my emotional and creative expression.
For instance, two weeks ago, I had a fight with my girlfriend, she didn’t listen what I said, she did a completely different thing without considering what I wanted. I can say I got really angry. Once we were alone at her home, I opened my self and told her, “I am so angry, you didn’t listen what I wanted and did what you wanted, that really hurts me.” I’ll let you know the end of this story in a moment.
The second magic ingredient is curiosity, what curiosity does not mean is letting go of my judgements. When I heard this, I thought “I don’t what to be judgmental” but actually our judgements, our ability to discern, to imagine that’s one of our greatest gifts. The problem is not our judgements, the problem is that we get stuck to them, we get attached to them, we think we’re right. What curiosity does mean is the willingness to own my judgements and then get interested and curious about a different perspective, to be willing to consider that there’s more than one right way, more than one truth, more than one possibility and get over my need to be right.
Let’s go back to our story, once I told my girlfriend what I was feeling, I asked her what happened, was this intended to hurt me? She told me: “No, it wasn’t, it was not clear for me what you wanted, I so sorry, it won’t happen again, what I do expect is for you to be clearer when you tell me what you want” And I told her: “I will”
You see, when you combine these two ingredients, vulnerability and curiosity, in the midst of conflict, that’s when you start to use it rather than defuse it.
Conflict is an energy source for innovation, creativity and transformation, it’s time we stop looking for safety and magic outside of ourselves and recognize the resources we have within and between us. You are capable of amazing things, so the next time you get stuck in conflict, remember, use it, don’t defuse it.

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