Friday, November 4, 2011

What have you learned from you lately... OoooOooo Ya



Conflict is as much a creative process as it is destructive. It is life defined. We can take something useless or ugly and turn it into art. But like any art that is worth selling our work needs to be a labor of love. Inspired and directed. We need to take conflict and do something with it, we need to transform it. Among the many things I’ve learned about conflict, I value this lesson the most. Making the conflicts and trials in my life work for my benefit has changed my perception of the people I encounter every day.

I feel like there are basically two ways people deal with conflict. The first type, spend their whole lives trying to avoid it in any way possible. They walk around pretending things are fine just because they managed to run from a possible confrontation. They justify the way things are just so they don’t have to live in a world where feelings get hurt and people are yelling, but the reality of their lives is that they are miserable, blaming others for the contention that fills their hearts. The second type look forward to it, they try to cause it, for no good reason except that it distracts them from the unfulfilling lives they lead. These are the types that have road rage and make a scene when any expectation of theirs is compromised. These are the extremes, but both types are growing exponentially.

We teach others how to treat us.

Learning to except and embrace the challenges in my life, help me grow. Excepting when I make mistakes and allowing the consequences to affect my life without justification have given me so much to look forward to when conflict surfaces around me. More importantly though, learning to accept how others deal with conflict has helped me create a life almost free of the stress that conflict can cause. Conflict has become an opportunity to me, either to prove myself or to gain a healthy dose of humility. Either way …I learn something. The only way to do this however is to look inward when conflicts surface around, and ask what have I done to casue this.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand how difficult and exhausting conflict can be. It is often the worse kind of demon to face. It is extremely hard to face our own fallacies as well as those of others; this is why people try so hard to avoid it. No one likes to be told that they are wrong or that what they believe to be true could be false, or that they made a mistake, or that they caused harm or pain. But learning to deal with each other’s differences and putting our pride aside in the choice to allow love to work instead is the best way to turn a life that could be fruitless into the best kind of living art, one that creates instead of destroys. One of my favorite quotes expresses this point…” every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.” –Emerson. We can’t allow ourselves to forget this in conflict, the value of life and the potential to create, that our enemies have. Let us soften hearts not harden them.