Conflict happens anywhere even when we least expect it. Many people see conflict as inherently negative, but that is a misunderstanding of what conflict is and how it operates. To address to that, it is a must that we know the principles of conflict as identified by a communicologist, Julia Wood.
Conflict is a natural process in all relationships. The presence of conflict does not indicate that a relationship is unhealthy or in trouble, although how partners manage conflict does influence relational health. Actually, conflict indicates that people are involved with each other. If they weren’t, there would be no need to resolve differences. This is a good point to keep in mind when conflicts arise because it reminds us that a strong connection underlies even disagreement.
Conflict can be overt or covert. Overt conflict is out in the open and explicit. It exists when people deal with their differences in a direct, straightforward manner. They might calmly discuss their disagreement, intensely argue about ideas, or engage in a shouting match. Overt conflict can also involve physical attacks, although of course that’s not healthy or constructive. On the other hand, covert conflict is unacknowledged. It exists when people have disagreements and express their feelings indirectly.
Conflict can be managed well or poorly. Because conflict is natural and inevitable, we need to learn to deal with it in ways that benefit us and our relationships. People respond to conflict in a variety of ways, ranging from physical attack to verbal aggression to reflective problem solving. Although each method may resolve differences, some are clearly preferable to others. Depending on how we handle disagreements, conflict can either promote continuing attachment or split a relationship apart.
Conflict can be good for individuals and relationships. Although we tend to think of conflict negatively, it can be beneficial in a number of ways. When managed constructively, conflict can help us grow as individuals and strengthen our relationships. We can enlarge our perspectives when we engage in conflicts that propel personal growth and learning. We deepen insight into our ideas and feelings when we have to express them and consider critical responses. Sometimes this supports our own identity by clarifying how we differ from others. Differences can also prompt personal growth by helping us see when it’s appropriate to change our minds. Conflict allows us to consider points of view different from our own. Based on what we learn, we may change our opinions, behaviors, or goals. Conflict can enhance understanding and spur personal growth.
With this information that we have, we can now easily assess matters on how to avoid or face our dilemmas in times we encounter them. What is therefore very essential is on how we treat these problems as challenges not to destroy our inner being but to strengthen our audacity and faith with respect to how we perceive and how we manage ourselves as social beings.