Conflict Management

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” ~African Proverb

A photo by Faye Cornish. all conflicts are external in nature. Some begin from within, but fortunately, there are things we can do to quash them. We’ve all had bad days. Those points in time where nothing seems to go right, the world is against us and of course, the printer’s out of ink. Why wouldn’t it be? We’re the ones using it, after all. It’s times like these when we have to remember that the universe and the people who occupy it are not out to get us.

Those bad days or strokes of bad luck are likely due to a poor perception of ourselves or our surroundings. An internal conflict of sorts that has unsettled something within our systems, leading us to believe we’re inadequate, unworthy or just plain unlucky. If we change this internal monologue, however, we can change the outcome. Change the printer ink while you’re at it as well. That one’s just plain office maintenance, not the universe trying to foil your transaction.

I’ve found that meditation can be a great source of inner peace. Studies have shown as little as 20 minutes of meditation in the morning can produce marked results throughout the day. There are also guided meditation apps like Headspace or Calm that can quiet the static mind if you have trouble getting there on your own.

Apart from meditation, simply taking a step back and analyzing a situation for what it truly is – not what the little voice in our head says it is – can do wonders. This is particularly true with external conflicts, which are often influenced or fed by our internal feelings. That Chatty Cathy at Starbucks may be a stay-at-home-mom and this is the only adult conversation she’ll get to have all day. She isn’t purposely trying to make you late for work. The colleague who didn’t respond to an email that’s important to you may gotten a call his son broke his leg on the baseball field. The receptionist who didn’t change the printer ink might have just slammed her finger in the car door, causing a delay in fine-motor tasks.

If we reset our inner monologue, it’s easy to see the world for what it is: a beautiful place where opportunities abound. Approaching each situation – whether the conflict is real or imaginary – with an open mind, clear head and positive heart will help us remember we’re all in this together, and we all have our own struggles to get through.

Regional Vice President - Southwest

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