As I prepared to write this month’s blog, I found I was tested, over the last several weeks, in my own ability to rise above conflict. It seems adversity had it’s poke at me to see if I practice what I preach. After spending a nice relaxing weekend with my hubby at a cabin in the mountain’s celebrating our 11th year anniversary, we came home to a sick little boy. The next day I got sick, and two days later, my husband got sick. Trying to keep the household together while everyone was sick was very stressful and definitely not fun. However, we all managed to get through it with lots of rest and prayers.
Let’s be honest, conflict is a part of life. We’ve all experienced a misunderstanding, miscommunication, a disagreement or an argument in our relationship with a spouse, family member, friend, co-worker or a neighbor, and we’ve all experienced strife in our lives. A lot of us have dealt with our fair share of conflict in our life. I know I have.
What is conflict? Conflict can mean a lot of different things. According to Merriam-Webster, here is the Full Definition of conflict. 1 : fight, battle, war. 2 a : competitive or opposing action of incompatibles : antagonistic state or action (as of divergent ideas, interests, or persons) b : mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands.
How do you identify conflict in your life? There are many different types of conflict. Conflict can show up as a disagreement at work, a major life event such as a divorce, or as an act of war between countries. Conflict can present itself in an argument with a spouse, misbehavior in a child, a betrayal from a friend, a personal issue with a family member, or an illness or life-threatening disease. Conflict is commonly the result of a desire, demand, disappointment, judgment, punishment or an expectation that we have of us, the other party or of the situation. We want something and don’t get it. We argue and fight because we don’t see eye to eye. We get upset because things aren’t going the way you want them to. I’m guilty of these. How about you? Have you ever experienced any of these situations before?
How do you respond to Conflict? Our natural human response to conflict is to escape, avoid, deny, blame, attack or assault. These responses are what we were taught growing up. We observed different people’s responses to conflict and implemented what we learned. What response to conflict did your parents or caretakers use as you were growing up? What response do you use now? I sometimes find myself avoid or deny conflict because I’m afraid to face confrontation at times. As I became aware of this, I decided I didn’t want to be afraid of confrontation anymore. So, I learned a different response to conflict. I learned how to rise above it.
Rising ABOVE Conflict
Have you ever been angry at someone and felt at peace at the same time? Anger and peace cannot co-exist together. You have to shift the negative feelings inside of you in order to obtain a higher frequency. Negative feelings such as anger, blame, guilt, and shame vibrate at a lower frequency. Positive feelings such as kindness, gratitude, compassion, and love vibrate at a higher frequency. Most people aren’t aware of their feelings when they are in the middle of a heated argument.They get caught up in the blame game of who’s right and who’s wrong and end up getting ‘stuck’ in the emotions of the conflict and are unable to move out of it. Why? Because it’s what they learned. It’s all they know.
You have to learn a different response to conflict if you want to rise above it to make peace, find lasting solutions, and reconcile a relationship. I call this Rising Above Conflict.
Rising above conflict is being able to shift the anger, pain or suffering you’re feeling inside to being open to forgiveness, healing, and understanding. Rising above conflict is about seeking higher ground to ascend the struggles, the anger, the blame, the hurt, the heartbreak, the brokenness, the loneliness, or the fear that you feel when you’re facing a trial or a broken relationship. It doesn’t mean you get out of the struggles. It simply mean’s you’re seeking help, guidance, and understanding as you go through it so you can resolve an issue, heal, learn and grow from it, and become a better person as a result of having gone through it.
Here are four easy steps to help you to rise above conflict next time you find yourself in an argument or in strife.
4 Steps to Rising ABOVE Conflict:
Sept 1: Be Aware of How You Feel. First, become aware of how you feel emotionally. Notice when you’re feeling anxious, frustrated or angry. Second, notice how your body feels. Is your heart beating fast? Do you get a surge of energy through your body? What signs does your body give you when it’s feeling stressed or upset?
Step 2: Step Out of the Overwhelm. When you feel frustrated or discouraged, step out of the overwhelm, anger or hurt. Even if you’re in a heated discussion with your spouse or boss, take a few minutes to step away from them. Go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, step outside for a breath of fresh air.Walking away or taking a deep breath into your lungs can help clear the negative energy.
Step 3: Make a Choice to Change Your Attitude. After you’ve stepped out of the overwhelm, ask yourself to make a choice to change your attitude towards it. Do you want to continue to remain in this response to conflict or do you want to rise above it to create peace and or harmony? Change your attitude about the conflict. If you don’t feel like it, then ask yourself why.
Step 4: Seek Higher Ground. If you’ve made the choice to change your attitude and you want peace, then seek higher ground for help. Take your eyes off the circumstances, situation or person and onto God. Seek Him for comfort, strength, and guidance. If you can’t resolve the conflict in the middle of a discussion or a situation, ask the other party if you can continue the conversation another day or time or table it. Set it aside for a few days or a week so you can seek spiritual guidance, wise counsel, pray about it, and ask for support to help you to rise above the conflict to make peace.
Benefits to Rising Above Conflict. There are many benefits to rising above conflict. Here are three.
1. Rising above conflict gives you the opportunity to grow personally and spiritually. When you make a choice to change your attitude, you make a choice to grow in self-control, to know and understand yourself, to apply forgiveness, and to love yourself. You gain wisdom through valuable life lessons, and you grow deeper in your faith as a result of seeking higher ground.
2. Rising above conflict helps you to build loving and harmonious relationships with others. It provides you the chance to practice compassion, forgiveness, kindness, and love with yourself and with others, and it helps you to create better communication. Rising above conflict teaches you to appreciate other people’s differences, uniqueness, strengths, gift’s and talents, and to know yours.
3. Rising above conflict shifts your perception to help you to see the disagreement, situation or the other party from a higher perspective. Many of us see conflict as something to avoid because confrontation is uncomfortable. But when you rise above the conflict and see it from a higher perspective, you can see opportunities, learning, teachable moments, blessings, wisdom, miracles, and love.
Love, light, and peace to you and your family.