Transforming Caregiver Stress into Compassion Resilience

Conflict Is Not A Dirty Word


It’s a word charged with emotion and it can strike discomfort and fear into the bodies and souls of many of us.

That’s not surprising, since our experiences of conflict tend to be painful at worst and frustrating at best. Just bringing the word to mind can produce images connected with negative states of opposition, hostility and harm.

No wonder we go out of our way to ignore or deflect it, even when we know that’s a pointless exercise, since it will return to bite us hard on the backside.

When Sparks Fly They Light Up The Sky

But yesterday I was reading a conflict post over at  and got to thinking.

Since I am in the practice of looking for where the Power resides inside my current challenges, I was curious about our trouble with conflict, and whether there is a more positive power that lies at the heart of it.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that conflict is everywhere and it informs everything we do.


Where there are ideas to share, there is conflict

Where there is opinion to be spoken, there is conflict

Where there is diversity to celebrate, there is conflict

Where there are stories of adventure, love and triumph, there is conflict

In short, where there are people, there will be conflict

Conflict is not by nature destructive, competitive or disabling. But our reaction to it usually is.  We feel the way we do about conflict, because we have learnt some things along the way, which may no longer be serving us well.

Our conflict triggers are partly learned through our childhood experiences and family interactions, and which are now embedded in our bodies as habits and patterns. These patterns formed before we knew better, before we had the competencies and authority we need to meet external challenges with self-trust and confidence and before we had exposure to teachers and role models to show us differently.  We have learned to experience conflict as a challenge or an attack on our safety, our psyche, our identity.

So we forget that conflict has generative power and lies at the heart of new ideas, creativity, and, ultimately, change. Without it there would be no vital force to drive our selves or our businesses through stagnation and stuckness, towards progress and growth.

Power At The Heart Of Conflict

For all these reasons, conflict doesn’t have to, and can’t always, be either deflected or resolved.

And if we are to step into being powerful Leaders for our businesses and our selves, we need to learn to be okay with that. We need to learn how to live more comfortably with conflict.  We need to learn how to increase our capacity, resilience and willingness to engage with it, because the bottom line is, none of us would learn, if we were never challenged, and we would not be able to survive the sorts of challenges that come with increased visibility and success.

Of course, that’s easier to say than to do, and it means a fundamental shift in how we relate to the world. That could mean working on such things as boundaries, vulnerability, speaking up, and giving up control. But its worth getting on the path, because in the heat of the moment, we will be able to stand our ground and stay committed to our goal, whilst allowing everyone to retreat with their dignity  intact.

Part of the work involves deepening your awareness of your internal somatic environment; the thoughts, beliefs, emotions and sensations that are triggered in response to both real and imagined dangers, and learning how to transform them so your body supports you in taking effective action.

And part of it involves building in the security that comes from having the interpersonal and language skills that are essential for navigating through toxic situations safely.

My training can help you discover how to remain in your power in the midst of conflict and I will explore some of the steps in future posts.  Like the rest of my work, the answers are simple, but not always easy.

In the meantime, consider what is your current relationship to conflict. Notice your own responses, assumptions, anxieties and prejudices and question how true they are.  And notice where you might be able to find the positive power within it.

For other resources, visit my favourite blogger on the subject, Tammy Lenski at especially this recent post







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes