In the dictionary conflict is defined as a struggle, a battle. Mutual antagonism. Some people seem to thrive on creating conflict while others will do their best to avoid conflict. I have often pondered what it would be like in the world if everybody could just get along without all the nonsense of conflict. In order that everyone get along in the world everyone would have to be a clone of yourself.

Conflict arises when two or more value systems come up against each other. Using a simple analogy: Imagine a car at a crossroads. One of the two occupants decides it is better to go left. The other decides it is best to go right. There is now a conflict. The one who does not like conflict may back down and allow the other to have their way. Conversely, the one who enjoys conflict may become aggressive and more determined to go "their" way. Although the manifestations look different, this conflict scene is played over and over again in our society. We are in a state of constant conflict. So, why do we have conflict and how can you own your power in a conflict?

I ask that you look at conflict from the point of view that conflict is people making choice from their past and present into their future. Behind each person in a conflict is the idea or the thinking that they are "right." Based on the information that each party has received in their past and their present they are making choices into their future.

Go back to the crossroads. The person who wants to go left may be hungry and know that there is restaurant down the road. They may have remembered another time at a crossroads when they went left and it turned out just fine. With this information they make a decision and act upon it. The person who wants to turn right has had a different experience and believes that going the opposite direction will benefit them.

The main reason that we run into conflict is because we are running into others who have a different value system. Your values are put to the test every time you come into conflict. The conflict allows you the opportunity to see the other person's point of view and/or to understand why they want something different than yourself. It also affords you the opportunity to rechoose or to stay steadfast with your values.

Let's use little Johnny and his father as an example. Johnny wants to join the ballet while dad wants him to play football. Johnny is excited at the thought of flying through the air (no not like a football) but like a ballet star. He wants to twirl and whirl to passionate music. He can feel the excitement in his bones and has a knowing that this is creative and fun. He has no interest in football. It seems to confusing and the thought of wearing all that gear is just too much for him. Johnny values his lightness of being, his creativity and his love for music.

On the other hand Dad remembers his glory days of football, the companionship, the comradery, the going into battle and being victorious. He knows how these battles helped him believe in himself and have served him well over the years. For Johnny to miss out on this opportunity is just not going to happen

Johnny and his Dad have created conflict because they have different values.

Conflict is best served by each person communicating to the other what is that they want and why? By understanding where the other person is coming from much of the tension can be let go of. Johnny may think that his dad is overbearing and cruel when he insists that he goes to football but in actuality Dad loves Johnny and wants him to have the same great experience that he had. Dad may think that Johnny is a "pansy" for going to ballet but in actuality Johnny is looking to find his own path to strength, his own skills, his own victories.

The purpose of conflict is for you to examine and define your values. Circumstances in life will always have you checking your values Those people that appear to create conflict are announcing their values. This provides you the opportunity to clarify yours. Those who run from conflict, miss a great opportunity to understand more about the thinking and reasoning of others. Those who run from conflict miss the opportunity to clarify their values. At times we are asked by others to engage in immoral (you decide) behaviour or conduct that is against your values. This is the time to stay true to who you are, to what your values are. Stay true to your values and if necessary walk away and leave the conflict. But always stay true to your values.

Author's Bio: 

Phil Walmsley is the creator of the popular 101 Insight Cards. A place for personal and spiritual growth.