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Let’s Talk About Conflict

Let’s Talk About Conflict

Conflict is a tricky business. Some people prefer to get all of their frustrations out rather than keeping it all in, some even relish the experience. Here, The Daily Zen share their take on dealing with conflict:

“Don’t go to bed angry.  Stay up and fight.”

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Going to preface this by saying that I don’t mean fighting in the direct sense.  What I mean is that we should not let personal problems fester. Passive aggression is like a cancer and only worsens with time.  If you are having an internal quarrel with a friend, if you are losing respect for someone, if you are suddenly experiencing negative feelings towards someone you care about, do not let it sit.  It may need to for a while, but the longer you wait, the more potentially harmful the situation becomes.  And if you’re not careful, it will boil over, and people will get hurt.  The last thing you want to do is hurt someone you love because you were too afraid to talk to them.  That’s what they’re there for.  Friendship serves to comfort us through the trials of life and provide a real experiential meaning to this strange existence.  We need to give in order to get, and also to address problems when they arise instead of ignoring them.

There’s a real fallaciously harmful aspect of Eastern philosophy and New Age thought that avoids negativity.  It avoids conflict and all the ugly stuff people don’t want to deal with.  And you know what?  That’s what sells the most books.  It’s what drives the most hits to blog posts.  If I were to write about how perfect everything is all the time and how everyone should just love each other all the time and the universe is your best friend, maybe I’d land a book deal or get even more subscribed.  But that isn’t real, and we all know it deep down.  And, based on my experience, the people who subscribe too heavily to the hyper-positivistic New Age theosophy are often repressed or secretly miserable.  Positive thinking can become a defense mechanism to the detriment of good old fashioned honest feeling.  Sometimes we need conflict; sometimes we need to feel pain instead of transmute it into positivity.  It’s alright.

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And so, just as I’ve advised you to embrace sadness, I’ll say this: embrace conflict.  Don’t initiate it if possible, obviously, but for the sake of your own psychological well being and the benefit of everyone else, do not hide your feelings.  Your emotions set you apart from the beasts; they make you human.  You think and act, but you also feel, and these feelings cannot always be curated by ideology.  True emotion is unintentional, and to modify it we need to go deep into our mental caverns.  Sometimes you just need to sit in a room and hurt for a little while.  Sometimes you need to oversleep, or get angry with someone you love.  These things become problems when they are converted into habits, but as isolated incidents they allow for balance.  And at the end of the day, that’s what we can strive for:  balance.

You need to embrace your darkness, essentially.  If you’re feeling shitty, confront it.  Fight the dragon, don’t chase it away with ignorance or sex or drugs or false positivity.  You’ll only feel worse when the highs wear off.  Much worse.

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A close friend of mine came to me in distress recently.  I was, to be frank, being a dick.  I was being cold and distant and had no idea how to handle the situation as I’d never encountered anything like it in the past.  And he stepped forward and called me out, and that was definitely difficult for him.  And it was clearly too difficult for me to do anything about.  I became paralyzed, as we so often do, by the fear of what came next.  What future potential would be forfeited by my actions?  This often binds me and creates anxiety.  Close relationships can be too much for the uninitiated.  I am an introvert and value my solitude, and when I feel it’s being infringed upon I can become hostile.  Learning to be aware of what you make others feel is incredibly important and also quite difficult.

And so my friend brought up this issue and we talked it out.  We went back and forth and dealt with it with honesty, diligence and as much integrity as we could muster.  And it feels better now.  These squabbles allow for relationships to move from plateau to plateau instead of just stagnate and get stale.  As we go through life confronting what ails us rather than pushing it away, we recognize the beautiful relief that comes from fighting that which we fear and standing up for what is good.  Sometimes it takes a very long time to figure out how to properly articulate one’s feelings to another; sometimes the other person gets hurt and needs to confront us first.

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I hope to learn to recognize when I am being unintentionally cruel, passive or ignorant.  And please, for the good of everyone else, let’s make some sort of resolution to transcend these repressive urges and be human.  Sometimes two people need to get angry at one another.  Sometimes you have to share how you feel even if what you say is devastating.  And you may hear things you don’t want to hear, and you’ll most certainly have to deal with them.  You’ll become a fuller person because of it.

On Dealing With Conflict | The Daily Zen

Featured photo credit: Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here cover art by Storm Thorgerson via thedailyzen.org

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Last Updated on February 13, 2019

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

Think being happy is something that happens as a result of luck, circumstance, having money, etc.? Think again.

Happiness is a mindset. And if you’re looking to improve your ability to find happiness, then check out these 10 things happy people do differently.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. -Dalai Lama

1. Happy people find balance in their lives.

Folks who are happy have this in common: they’re content with what they have, and don’t waste a whole lot of time worrying and stressing over things they don’t. Unhappy people do the opposite: they spend too much time thinking about what they don’t have. Happy people lead balanced lives. This means they make time for all the things that are important to them, whether it’s family, friends, career, health, religion, etc.

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2. Happy people abide by the golden rule.

You know that saying you heard when you were a kid, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Well, happy people truly embody this principle. They treat others with respect. They’re sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other people. They’re compassionate. And they get treated this way (most of the time) in return.

3. Happy people don’t sweat the small stuff.

One of the biggest things happy people do differently compared to unhappy people is they let stuff go. Bad things happen to good people sometimes. Happy people realize this, are able to take things in stride, and move on. Unhappy people tend to dwell on minor inconveniences and issues, which can perpetuate feelings of sadness, guilt, resentment, greed, and anger.

4. Happy people take responsibility for their actions.

Happy people aren’t perfect, and they’re well aware of that. When they screw up, they admit it. They recognize their faults and work to improve on them. Unhappy people tend to blame others and always find an excuse why things aren’t going their way. Happy people, on the other hand, live by the mantra:

“There are two types of people in the world: those that do and those that make excuses why they don’t.”

5. Happy people surround themselves with other happy people.

happiness surrounding

    One defining characteristic of happy people is they tend to hang out with other happy people. Misery loves company, and unhappy people gravitate toward others who share their negative sentiments. If you’re struggling with a bout of sadness, depression, worry, or anger, spend more time with your happiest friends or family members. Chances are, you’ll find that their positive attitude rubs off on you.

    6. Happy people are honest with themselves and others.

    People who are happy often exhibit the virtues of honesty and trustworthiness. They would rather give you candid feedback, even when the truth hurts, and they expect the same in return. Happy people respect people who give them an honest opinion.

    7. Happy people show signs of happiness.

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    smile

      This one may sound obvious but it’s a key differentiator between happy and unhappy people. Think about your happiest friends. Chances are, the mental image you form is of them smiling, laughing, and appearing genuinely happy. On the flip side, those who aren’t happy tend to look the part. Their posture may be slouched and you may perceive a lack of confidence.

      8. Happy people are passionate.

      Another thing happy people have in common is their ability to find their passions in life and pursue those passions to the fullest. Happy people have found what they’re looking for, and they spend their time doing what they love.

      9. Happy people see challenges as opportunities.

      Folks who are happy accept challenges and use them as opportunities to learn and grow. They turn negatives into positives and make the best out of seemingly bad situations. They don’t dwell on things that are out of their control; rather, they seek solutions and creative ways of overcoming obstacles.

      10. Happy people live in the present.

      While unhappy people tend to dwell on the past and worry about the future, happy people live in the moment. They are grateful for “the now” and focus their efforts on living life to the fullest in the present. Their philosophy is:

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      There’s a reason it’s called “the present.” Because life is a gift.

      So if you’d like to bring a little more happiness into your life, think about the 10 principles above and how you can use them to make yourself better.

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