Conflict in inevitable in our relationships with each other. In marriage, friendships, dating, between co-workers, and those people you work for... you aren't always going to agree on everything. The chart below is something we use here at Life Church as we help people work through conflict.
A person who...
- ...values the relationship but has low self-esteem will most likely yield in the conflict.
- ...does not value the relationship but has high self-esteem will try to win the conflict.
- ...does not value the relationship and has low self-esteem will just withdraw from the conflict.
- Our culture typically promotes the compromise solution, which involves both people giving in some and finding ground in the middle. Problem with this approach is you never get your way, there's a subtle temptation to keep track of everything you've given, you always feel like you're giving in and no real effort is made to resolve what's at the core of the conflict.
- ... values the relationship and has a high self-esteem will work to resolve the conflict. This involves understanding where the other person is coming from, the root of the issue, understanding God's perspective, and loving the other person regardless of your personal feelings and position. If you do these things then you can work together to resolve the conflict.
A conflict that is resolved does not keep coming back it. It is settled. True resolution means you explore and understand what's at the root of the conflict, not just addressing the symptoms (when we deal with just the symptons we keep having the same conflict over and over again.)
For those relationships in my life that I value and that are important to me, I will do whatever it takes to resolve the conflict and not just ignore it, compromise to make it just go away, or justify my position to win at any cost.
How do you handle conflicts in your life with those you care about?