Seeking the balance between your own way of doing things and someone else’s is a universal problem that nearly everyone encounters in their relationships with others. In any interaction that is emotionally charged for both sides, we all will have unique perspectives and points of view that shapes our reactions.
If ‘my way’ and ‘your way’ are close enough, compatible, or deemed complementary, then there is no conflict and everyone can get along. If our views are different enough or opposing in nature, then we can have a problem to work out, fight over, or separate in frustration.
As a result of any conflicting situation, if one gets their way, they win and the other side loses. If the other gets their way, then the opposite occurs. Depending upon how attached people are to winning and getting what they want, losing this disagreement can produce a variety of emotions. Some of these can be deep seated and can create negative outcomes for their well-being. In a significant relationship, there really are no winners when someone’s feelings are hurt. Resentments may form and have a long term adverse effect on the relationship.
And as Stephen Moyer put it, ‘Conflict is drama, and how people deal with conflict shows you the kind of people they are. In a nutshell, this is the basic framework for a majority of our heartaches, dramas, and traumas with the people in our lives. It is within our conflicting differences that our inabilities to deal with others can be exposed with those who have an opposing viewpoint based upon their values. These conflicts can also show to us and others our levels of emotional maturity in dealing with conflict.
As a result of our conflicts, we demonstrate to ourselves and others that our perception is boxed into a particular way of thinking and feeling. When both sides are firmly ensconced in their boxes, there is little chance of a peaceful resolution. We may stubbornly refuse to break out of this box because we desperately cling to the frayed fibres of belief that we are the centre of the universe. Because of this, we believe that our way is right and anyone who thinks differently is wrong.
Learning how to handle conflict is one of the most important lessons we can learn in this world. Those of us who can’t or don’t handle conflict well are handicapped in their personal relationships, in their work environment, and with life in general. Conflict is everywhere in this world that we live in.
The best we can hope for for resolving a conflict is the creation of new ideas and solutions that occur when both parties are intent on getting what is best for everyone involved. That will not happen when we choose sides and fight over who gets their way. That will only happen when each side respects the other and makes every effort to cooperate until a mutually agreed upon solution is found.
Based on our genetics, culture, personal experiences, and a variety of other factors, we are all individuals with a unique perspective. We are all just a small piece of the expansive whole of humanity. In order to have a mature attitude towards life, we have to give up the idea that our way is the only right way and that it is OK for others to have different perspectives. Not that they need our permission to be who they are, but we need this shift in our perspective in order be more effective in our relationships.
If we can really believe that there is room in our world for differences, then we may not be so righteous and judgemental in the way we communicate with others. The results of our conflicts will end up much better and peaceful. We can prevent a lot of the dramas and traumas that steal so much of our happiness and peace of mind. These are very good reasons to see that fighting for ‘my way’ at the expense of others may not be the most effective way to resolve our conflicts.
Scott Trettenero’s recent book, Master the Mystery of Human Nature: Resolving the Conflict of Opposing Values helps readers learn about themselves, others and how the world works because of our differences. Scott has maintained a solo dental practice in Southwest Florida since 1981. His research on quality service in dentistry and his interest in human temperaments formed the basis for his first book, Unlocking the T-Code. He is married and has two children. You can follow him on Twitter @