By: Jeff Ingram
I don’t like conflict. In the fight or flight part of my brain, the trigger to flee is dominant… very dominant.
This has lead to years of avoiding conflict like a kid avoids broccoli. I’ve learned, though, that conflict isn’t only necessary, like broccoli, it’s healthy.
I’m not talking about the kind of conflict some people crave, the conflict that’s combative and meant to cause harm. Instead, it’s having the courage to lovingly confront, to provoke growth and strengthen a relationship.
When we don’t confront, nothing changes. People continue in their disappointing behavior and teams remain sick. Relationships are damaged, the rift broadens and dysfunction deepens.
In my work as a life coach, I see the impact of this. Sadly, I get calls after it’s gone on too long. Like an infection that has grown too severe, the options at that point are fairly invasive. In a situation like that, everyone suffers. The client, their family, the community, everyone.
If someone had had the courage to sit down, be honest, create a plan, and have a difficult conversation years ago, things probably wouldn’t have gotten so bad.
Remember though, when we confront, it takes a level of self-awareness. Many times, in my personal life, when I’ve sat down to chat with someone about what I perceive is “theirs”, I’ve realized I’m the problem. It’s then I realize, confrontation really is like broccoli, I may not like it but it helps me grow.