For a while now, a family member of mine has experienced some ongoing conflict within our extended family unit. It’s gotten pretty ugly at times. In fact, you could even ask what it was all about and not really get a clear answer. Very frustrating for all involved, because with no clear answer for why there was initially no clear answer for HOW to solve it – to make the issue go away and stop affecting those involved.

In recent times I have shared a few insights about beliefs – what they are and how they affect us. In the coming weeks I’ll share more on the different types of beliefs.

But for now I wanted to address how you can grow and evolve from conflict in your life. How you can use the emergence of conflict to grow in love from others and for yourself.

Where does it come from?

Beliefs are a powerful thing in our life. Our beliefs help us shape the decisions we make, or don’t make – or refuse to make! Beliefs affect the way with which we interact with ourselves and those around us. Our beliefs help us define what we will defend and what we will allow. Over time, we use our beliefs to create our identity – WHO we are.

I believe conflict begins at a place where there is a difference of beliefs. A place where two or more beliefs essentially fight it out to the last one standing.

In conflict, there is a feeling that there can be only one. Conflict is often ruled by the concept of right and wrong, black and white, winner and loser. In fact, it is through the dichotomous thinking of right, wrong, black and white that conflict lives and breathes.

Think of any conflict you can right now, and I’m convinced that you will come to the same conclusion – two differing opinions or beliefs fighting it out, because they feel it is right to be one way and not the other.

Is all conflict bad?

Honestly, I don’t necessarily believe so. Sometimes it is through conflict of opinion or point of view that a greater solution for both parties can be found. It is the way with which these differences are defended that is more commonly the issue. It is what we sometimes resort to in order to get our opinion across that creates a new and often worse problem. The things we say and do as a result of the impasse that creates a frustration and eventual escalation – saying and doing things in order to keep status.

Our involvement in conflict can be both in a resourceful and non-resourceful way. And interestingly enough it has a lot to do with your self-interest and whether you are thinking ecologically – taking more than just yourself into account.

I’m sure most people are familiar with a non-resourceful engagement in conflict – the most common involves violence, both verbal and physical. The negative effects of verbal and physical violence are littered throughout history. Differences of belief and opinion can be a minefield, and taking into account how vehemently we will defend our beliefs when they are challenged, it is easy to understand that people can forget that there is more than one way to travel to a destination.

So how can you resourcefully engage in conflict without letting or getting anyone hurt? It’s quite simple really. The first thing to do is to stop thinking about your beliefs for a second and put yourself in the other person’s shoes. By taking yourself out of the picture and seeing through their eyes, you give yourself the opportunity to empathise with them. By taking yourself out of the picture for a second you don’t disregard your beliefs, but you acknowledge that there are different ways of thinking.

Giving yourself the opportunity to truly empathise with your counterpart gives you the opportunity to possibly extinguish something before it escalates into verbal or physical harm to either party. As your empathy grows, your understanding and love grows. As your love grows, your clarity expands.

You can then engage in a way that is full of empathy; that is filled with love. A way that seeks resolution and not hurt. You can engage knowing that your beliefs are defended, or even better, upgraded. It has stopped being about who you think you need to be as a result of beliefs created from the past and given you the opportunity to grow into who you CAN be as a result of higher thinking.

Conflict loves resistance. In fact, for most things to survive there must be some form of resistance. Construction engineers understand this principle. Any modern structure built takes into account the principle of resistance. Without adhering to this principle, the structure would not stand for long. Where would we be without gravity? Gravity provides us with resistance, without it life could not exist.

The same is for conflict. With conflict – it takes two to tango. Without that resistance the conflict is dead, it has nowhere to go. Whether it is an internal conflict or external conflict – resistance is needed or it goes away.

If it is conflict with someone else, you have the opportunity – do you stay closed off to your own ideas, or do you open up, listen and empathise? It is times like this where we are offered the choice to be a leader. It is a time that we are offered the chance to be an example.
These opportunities are presented to us so that we may serve more than just ourselves. This may mean engaging in the conflict to serve our family or community.

There is no higher purpose than serving others, and through carefully considering how we navigate through conflict – resourcefully or non-resourcefully – we give ourselves and others the opportunity to benefit and grow.

Some people are known to choose timidity when they are presented with conflict. All that they are and all that they believe are challenged, yet they make the choice to be timid and roll over. They are so scared of conflict that they refuse to defend anything for fear of the situation turning ugly. This timidity is their defence mechanism to not engage. They see it more as a virtue than what it really is – a disease.

Yet, using a strategy of timidity does little for themselves or others. This is non-resourceful strategy when trying to reduce conflict. One has been shown that bullying gets them their own way, and the other has learned that by not engaging that the conflict stops – but they have given away their respect of self and from others in the process.

Throwing away your respect from others is one thing, but giving away the respect for yourself becomes a slippery slope that is extremely difficult to come back from. If it is the choice between the two, choose the respect for yourself. Through being true to yourself and respecting yourself, you can receive the respect from others.

So in the future when you are presented with conflict – and you will be – remember these few things and you will create more peace for yourself and others. Remember these few things and the influence you wield amongst those in your family and community will grow. The example you set for yourself and those around you will create a legacy of change. You will be known as a person who considers everyone at all times, regarding yourself and others as highly important and valuable.

Step out of yourself for a second, imagine how they came to believe what they believe. Through doing so your empathy will elevate and the solution will present itself. The need for conflict will disappear naturally without causing pain and increasing mutual respect and love.

Author's Bio: 

Youarn Bell is a coach and trainer based in Australia with a growing reputation for helping people from all walks of life to push past their perceived limits and drastically improve their life rapidly. Visit: for more information.