Conflict and fighting are not synonymous. Although they very often go hand-in-hand, disagreements need not end up as arguments, fights, or physical altercations. A conflict is simply two forces in opposition: a husband and wife disagree on where to spend their vacation; you support the Republican party, your friend is a staunch Democrat; best friends listen to radically different music. Conflict can actually be a very positive force in our lives as it introduces us to new ideas, new possibilities, and the opportunity to learn and expand our world. Fighting, on the other hand, is based on hostility and struggle to obtain what is desired.

Yet many people would gladly have a root canal rather than address a conflict. There are yes- men, people-pleasers, and the peace-keepers, all of whom seek to maintain the status quo as opposed to upsetting anyone or anything. An undeniable aspect of life, resolving our differences is something few of us were properly taught how to do. As children, very often the larger or more aggressive child would win the dispute, leaving the other one feeling defeated and resentful. Some grow into adulthood learning to cower to the stronger one, others become defensive and prepare to fight for their individual rights. Either way, we approach conflict with great trepidation and angst, anticipating the worst.

The key to resolving conflict is never by using avoidance techniques. An uncomfortable reaction to conflict is the result of the internal issues we have not yet resolved that are being triggered by the event. Here's an example: if my experiences in life have led me to feel unimportant, if I have felt as though no one really cares about me or how I feel, then when my husband tells me he wants to go out for MacDonald's (knowing that I would much prefer Chinese food) my insecurities are triggered and I become defensive. At that moment, I experience him not as my loving partner but rather my opposition. I am prepared to argue and fight in order to be treated fairly.

Emotions act as messengers - they alert us to those troublesome issues we need to address and heal within us. Once I acknowledge that his behavior is actually triggering my own insecurities, I can begin the process of strengthening my self-worth. Feeling strong and self-assured in my own skin allows me to debate our disagreement calmly and confidently, finding a mutually satisfactory resolution. Resorting to fighting or aggressive tactics is completely unnecessary because no painful buttons are being pushed.

Conflict is an ever-present part of our lives but it needn't escalate into a battle. They key to eliminating fighting lies within me. When I heal my internal issues, disagreements are discussed and resolved with relative ease.

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Author's Bio: 

Janet Pfeiffer, international inspirational speaker and award-winning author has appeared on CNN, Lifetime, ABC News, The 700 Club, NBC News, Fox News, The Harvest Show, Celebration, TruTV and many others. She’s been a guest on over 100 top radio shows (including Fox News Radio), is a contributor to Ebru Today TV and hosts her own radio show, Anger 911, on
Janet's spoken at the United Nations, Notre Dame University, was a keynote speaker for the YWCA National Week Without Violence Campaign, and is a past board member for the World Addiction Foundation.
She's a former columnist for the Daily Record and contributing writer to Woman’s World Magazine, Living Solo, Prime Woman Magazine, and N.J. Family. Her name has appeared in print more than 100 million times, including The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Alaska Business Monthly and more than 50 other publications.
A consultant to corporations including AT&T, U.S. Army, U.S. Postal Service, and Hoffman-LaRoche, Janet is N.J. State certified in domestic violence, an instructor at a battered women's shelter, and founder of The Antidote to Anger Group. She specializes in healing anger and conflict and creating inner peace and writes a weekly blog and bi-monthly newsletter.
Janet has authored 8 books, including the highly acclaimed The Secret Side of Anger (endorsed by NY Times bestselling author, Dr. Bernie Siegel).
Read what Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author, says of Janet's latest book, The Great Truth; Shattering Life's Most Insidious Lies That Sabotage Your Happiness Along With the Revelation of Life's Sole Purpose:
"Janet dispels the lies and misconceptions many people have lived by and outlines a practical path to an extraordinary life beyond suffering. Written with honesty, clarity, sincerity, and humor, this book serves as a wonderful guide for anyone seeking a more enriching and fulfilling life.”
Dr. Bernie Siegel says, "All books of wisdom are meant to be read more than once. The Great Truth is one such book."