We’re often asked how to lower stress about disagreements in clients’ professional and personal lives. This is not surprising because dealing with competing needs and opinions is a big part of life.
Today I offer an excerpt from my book Communicate with Courage: Taking Risks to Overcome the Four Hidden Challenges. My graduate school studies were focused on communication, negotiation, and conflict. I developed a fascination with strategies that can smooth out the road when relating becomes difficult.
I hope this “love letter to conflict” will offer you a fresh perspective on the subject.
Dear constructive conflict,
We’ve known you all our lives.
We watched our elders acknowledge that you’re vital to communication, or refuse to.
You were always present in our homes and schools.
You will always be part of our work lives and personal relationships.
You help us find our beliefs and push us to lift our voices for causes that matter.
You reveal others’ unique positions when we’re brave enough to listen.
Without you, we’d never admit that we see the world from one limited perspective, our own.
Because of you, we’ve learned our way is not the only way, there’s often more than one way.
You remind us that those we see as dead wrong or out to get us may have positive intentions.
You bring anguish at times, anger, and shouting – but you should not be confused with abusive communication. You have the power to restore harmony.
You allow emotional release when we can’t find a solution and tears arrive.
You encourage us to find coaches and counselors to guide us through rough waters.
You help us identify our purpose.
You encourage tough discussions that lead to higher ground with co-workers, friends, enemies, strangers, and families.
You’re a worthy puzzle that requires brain and heart working together to solve.
You shape our workplace culture.
You shape our family dynamics.
You’re never the same thing twice.
You keep us growing as communicators, and we’re grateful.
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