Confronting Conflict with Curiosity

How do you approach or confront conflict? Humans sometimes avoid acknowledging that any disagreement or dispute exists out of a desire to avoid discomfort. When witnessing conflict addressed through yelling, screaming, hitting, or shooting and bombings, conflict may be associated with aggression. If you grew up in a household or a nation that handled conflict with more aggressive tactics, the tendency to avoid it completely (or see violence as the only tactic to address conflict) makes sense. However, confronting conflict does not mean harm or violence. What if everyone learned tools on how to resolve conflict in healthy and constructive ways? 

Are you willing to approach conflict from a place of curiosity? Confronting conflict resolution with curiousity involves asking important questions: Why does the other person or group think or act a certain way? Am I behaving in a healthy way that increases understanding? What do I need to believe to behave as my best self? Our personal story or belief typically underlies behavior. It does not necessarily make the behavior acceptable or unacceptable. It does explain it and lead to more understanding. When we understand, we may better determine whether something is working and seek ways to improve, if necessary. 

Avoiding conflict may seemingly meet an immediate need for safety and security. It may also sacrifice long-term safety, security, and peace. Conflict may be handled through respectful words demonstrating a willingness to understand and a readiness to jointly address problems as they arise. The skills to resolve conflict from a place of curiosity and compassion may be learned and fine tuned through practice. You may start yourself on this path with conflict coaching or skills training. 

A civil and family mediator, peace builder, and educator, Sherry Ann Bruckner lives in Alexandria, Minnesota. Visit brucknermediation.com/services to learn more or call Sherry at (320) 808-3212 for help to transform conflict and create peace.

As always, be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.