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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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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

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Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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