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Ten Ways Conflict is beneficial to every relationship

by Sola Legend
Ten Ways Conflict is beneficial to every relationship

Conflict is oftentimes perceived to be negative and most people avoid it at all costs. Unfortunately, conflict is inevitable as long as humans continue to exist. This is as a result of the existence of the different approaches, priorities, unique views and scopes humans tend to possess. Whether it is interpersonal, inter/intra group or inter/intra organizational conflicts, conflict is a very integral part of human relations. It is evident in homes where siblings rival over little stuff, or where organizations compete over customers or ideas.

The concept of conflict according to the Cambridge Dictionary is “an active disagreement between people with opposing opinions or principles”. This disagreement in a way spurs tension birthing our defensive sides and if not managed might lead to resentment and an end to the existing relationship amongst the parties involved.

The problem is in every relationship, people often overlook some things that go against their values and principles just to ensure peace. However, they tend to forget that such behaviours would keep occurring until they can no longer tolerate such behaviours resulting in unhealthy conflicts. Unhealthy conflicts are outcomes of mismanaged conflicts and take the form of personal attacks and emotional reactivity.

Healthy conflicts can lead to a deeper and more resilient relationship in these ways;

1. Recognizing and Clarifying expectations: Expectations is one thing that humans have in common. Everyone expects something in and during a relationship which is very natural. Conflicts often arise from unmet expectations. Conflict creates an awareness that an expectation was unmet which paves way for effective communication.

2. Mutual understanding: Conflict paves way for recognition of the existence of different perspectives and thinking. “I did this because…, I was not aware it would make you feel this way…, I did not understand you viewed it like this….,” This leads to knowledge and mutual understanding between both parties to prevent future misunderstandings.

3. Identifying weaknesses: It is easier for another person to identify a person’s weakness and point it out. Most people unconsciously portray behaviour that is a weakness and are not aware of it being a weakness. Oftentimes than normal, to maintain the relationship and not cause emotional pain to the other parties, we tend to overlook these weaknesses. During conflicts, these weaknesses are identified and pointed out to the falter.

4. Healthy boundaries: One of the causes of conflict remains stepping on one’s boundaries or overlooking one’s boundaries. As humans, we all have boundaries which are important for our survival. Boundaries are essential in a relationship for maintaining a healthy and balanced relationship. They serve as guidelines for how partners interact with each other and manage their personal space, emotions, and needs. Conflict helps in establishing healthy boundaries and ensures each partner’s limit is respected.

5. Value: Conflict is a great way to test the authenticity of the existing relationships and value placed by both parties. Questions like; is this worth ending for?, do I see so much value in this person to stay and work things out?. It is a known fact that whatever man values, he holds dear. This reveals true intent and the amount of value put in the relationship.

6. Effective Communication: Conflict calls for honest and effective communication which helps humans to be heard and understood. The “whys” is been understood and the “hows” is been adopted. This leads to results as an agreement would eventually be reached.

7. Strengthens Patience: The process of managing and resolving conflicts involves a series of challenges that test and ultimately develop one’s capacity for patience. For example, active listening which is crucial is only possible if both parties are patient enough to resolve the conflict.

8. Regulating Emotions: Conflict plays an important part in regulating emotions. Conflict stirs emotions like anger,hurt, frustration, resentment, anxiety, etc. Conflict regulates emotions by forcing individuals to confront and express these emotions, which prevents the buildup of unresolved tensions and resentment.

9. Direct Feedback: During conflicts, people are more likely to provide direct and specific feedback about behaviours or issues that are problematic, which might otherwise be overlooked.

10. Encourages Responsibility: Conflict ensures that each partner takes responsibility for their actions rather than blaming others. During conflicts, areas are usually highlighted where personal behaviour or decisions have negatively impacted others, prompting self-reflection and accountability.

These are areas where healthy conflicts are beneficial to human relationships. However, unresolved conflicts could lead to unhealthy conflicts which are usually chaotic. It is imperative to note that the essence of conflict is identifying an issue which births the need for resolution.

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