We believe that conflict is both an inevitable and potentially transformative part of everyday life. Outside of direct violence and harm, conflict can provide a unique and exciting opportunity. Often conflict is where growth happens. It’s how we discover our boundaries and figure out what we need.
How do we deal with conflict in ways that are healthful and productive to our relationships and our sense of self so that we might thrive rather than just survive?
We can be in conflict within ourselves, with others, and with larger institutions and groups.
If you’re like us, you’re constantly noticing both little and large conflicts around you, in your work life, personal life, romantic relationships and with family (...or especially with family!)
Conflict can range all the way from very visible experiences of discrimination and violence to more subtle feelings of disconnect and unease.
Conflict can simply be something that feels unresolved, stuck, or just plain awkward.
And if you’re like us certain conflicts with certain people make you want to run away and hide. Maybe you pour yourself into work, exercising, food, shopping, or scrolling social media as a distraction.
We’ve been there too.
Some conflicts may cause you to want tackle things forcefully, “It’s all their fault! They do this every time! They are impossible to work with!”
Others situations have you blaming yourself, “I never should have said anything. I always do that! Why do I even bother!? I can never think of the right thing to say in the moment. I must be over-reacting.”
And other times you might just shut down. Maybe your body is there but you are checked out, almost as if you just don’t have the capacity in that moment to care or engage.
We’ve been there.
All these reactions are common and normal.
They do however make it difficult (dare we say impossible) to effectively engage with conflict.
And if you’re like us then you notice that when conflicts go unchecked it can come at a huge cost. We adjust the way we speak, listen or engage with that person (or group). Maybe we are a bit more guarded, a bit less ourselves. We may even become sick from holding it in.
Even if a bit dysfunctional, this adjusted way of interacting can start to feel normal, "just the way things are..."
Trying to pretend like things are okay when they are not can be truly exhausting.
One of the most common mistakes we see is that people believe they should be able to work through conflicts by themselves.
And yet some conflicts are just too painful, they cut too deep and most of us don’t have the skills or support we need to move through them productively.
This leads to breakdown instead of breakthrough.
No wonder we can be leary to engage with conflict!
We believe that with the proper support and guidance along with willingness many of the conflicts that arise in our lives are actually quite workable (even if they don’t feel at that way at first).
If you are ready for that guidance, we are here to support you with compassion, strength and many years of training and experience.