Have you ever stopped to think why you respond to conflict like you do? This is not only interesting information, but very valuable information for anyone who finds conflict in their life … oh yes, that is ALL of us! I do not remember where I read this information, or I would give proper recognition, however, this is so good – I just have to share it.
What is conflict?
1. a serious disagreement or argument
2. incompatibility or at a variance; clash
What do we feel when we have conflict? We feel a range of emotions from anger, to fear, to hurt and so on.
The definition of emotion is: energy in motion
To add to that definition, emotional energy follows the path of least resistance. Where it has gone before it will go again!
Picture every emotion you have ever had. It was, indeed, energy in motion. And, we have all experienced the same emotions when we are in the midst of a conflict similar to others we have previously experienced.
Here is the part I find both fascinating and frustrating. Each time we find ourselves in a similar conflict – not only does our emotional energy follow the path of least resistance – but, each time that path is traveled the path becomes 10 times stronger! Picture a path through the grass that one person has walked down. Their may be very little evidence that the grass has even been walked on. But picture the same grass after ten people have walked on it and it is becoming quite compacted down. Picture once more that grass after one hundred people have walked on it. There is an undeniable path worn.
If we compare the grass to each time we have a particular emotional response … after just three times it has already had the equivalent of 100 people walking down that path.
It is not hard to see why, in the midst of conflict, we find ourselves having the same behavior, saying the same words and experiencing the same outcome.
I often respond poorly to conflict, but it is also possible to respond to conflict in better ways. Personally, I desire to turn the cycle around so that each time I experience the same, or similar conflict, the path I follow to ending (or diffusing) conflict becomes ten times easier.
Path # 1
Negative emotional arousal / response
Path # 2
Positive (good / neutral) emotional arousal / response
As a Christ follower, I am very aware that I am weak in my good intentions. That is why I count on God working in me to do this. I desire to change and He does the changing.
II Corinthians 12: 9 "… for my (God's) power is made perfect in weakness." – ESV
Philippians 2:13 "For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose." – NIV
Thank you God!