When’s the last time you had a disagreement with someone? An argument? Or maybe you were really challenged by what someone did or said, but kept it to yourself rather than creating an issue?

Conflict is a part of life…for all of us. No matter who you are or what you do, you aren’t always going to agree with everyone and everything. Given your experiences, thoughts, and feelings, your approach is sometimes going to be different than others’. The question isn’t whether they’ll be conflict, but how you handle it.

Ego’s Role in Conflict

In my past life, I had a very strong ego, which stands for “edge God out”. At the same time, I suffered from low self-worth (lack of self-esteem, self-love). As a result and in order to feel affirmed, I always needed to be right…it was my way or the highway. Things are different now:

  • Having internalized God’s unconditional love and knowing who I am in Christ, I no longer always have to be right or win.
  • I can accept and even embrace the differences between me and others.

All of the above goes to conflict in two respects. First, a lot less bothers me than before. I don’t have to be right. Others don’t have to agree with me. I understand that my opinions can be different than theirs’ and that none of us are bad people as a result (I’m not suggesting that there’s not right and wrong; truth does matter). With that, I don’t need their affirmation in the form of their agreement…it’s not going to change my day, nor the way I think about myself or them.

To Disagree Without Being Disagreeable

The second point relates to how we handle conflict. We’ve all heard that we can disagree without being disagreeable. While sounding simple, it’s not always easy. If comfortable with “self”, we can express ourselves with a lot less emotion. I’ve found that the best way to have a tough discussion is to start off by saying something like (individually or in sequence):

  • “I have something that I want to share with you that’s been on my heart.”
  • “Given how I think you feel about it, it’s not easy bringing it to your attention.”
  • “I’ve really been wrestling with how to do it, concerned about your reaction.”
  • “Know how much I care for you, which is why I feel a need to speak up.”
  • “I hope that you’ll take it as intended, which is charitably.”
  • “Our friendship is very important to me.”

Another thing that is important is tone. Stating the obvious, you don’t want to be yelling. I often times raise my voice when I get excited about something. As such, people perceive that I’m mad because they think I’m yelling. I’m now aware of this and when I sense it’s taking place, I proactively advise others that I’m just excited, not mad. Or I might even say it in advance of beginning the discussion.

The Measure of How You Feel About You

Being able to handle conflict in a healthy way, as indicated above, is the measure of a good relationship. It’s also a measure of how you feel about you. If you are good at conflict, then you probably have little ego and a healthy perception of self. If conflict is an issue, at least part of the problem may be not understanding God’s unconditional love for you. Happy to chat with you about that.

As always, feel free to comment to me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

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