Many of us are afraid of conflict, so we avoid it. And even if this approach helps you “keeps the peace”, it doesn’t serve you in the long run. If you want to deal with conflict in your life a little bit better, lean into it, rather than avoid it. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be a drama queen and look for conflict. Instead, it’s all about approaching conflict with grace.
Why are you afraid of conflict?
One reason why we avoid conflict and confrontation is because our past experiences have shown us that it’s not always safe to express difficult emotions – especially with people who have authority over us. Think: parents, employers, etc.
Conflict can also be scary if we think that we always have to agree with someone if we want to keep our relationship going. Think: girlfriends, boyfriend, spouse, parents, etc.
For better or for worse, our earliest experiences probably gave us a fear complex when it comes to conflict. If you’re scared to confront someone, or even disagree, you can start overcoming this fear by giving yourself more experience with conflict.
How to lean into conflict
The more we practice something, the better we get at it. The same is true of conflict. To overcome your fear of conflict, try the following tips:
- Identify why you’re afraid of conflict
- Challenge your fears: Can the worst-case scenario happen? If so, how bad could it be?
- Feeling nervous before a conflict is natural. So, it’s perfectly OK to compose and prepare yourself beforehand. Things to try include note taking, breathing exercises and rehearsing what you want to say.