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the upside of conflict: 5 surprising benefits


If you're anything like me, you'll typically do what you can to avoid conflict. I dislike fights, despise "talks," and detest angry confrontations. But, despite my distaste for these things, I've found that there are actually some serious benefits to having a bit of conflict in our lives. We can learn a lot about ourselves and the world when we're faced with conflict. And, much as some of us might dislike conflict, it's pretty much an inevitable part of life. So I say, why not look for the good in it rather than dwell on the negative aspects of conflict? Here are five reasons conflict can actually be a good thing... 


5 Benefits of Conflict


1. You create new ideas. When you fact conflict, you'll find new ways of seeing things. It's not alway easy to recognize the new ideas, but if you pay close attention, you may start to see someone else's point of view -- or you may come up with an entirely new way to view things based on what arguments and points have been raised in the conflict. Paying attention and really listening to others is key to benefitting from conflict. 


2. You learn about others. Conflict is a great way to learn more about others. Whether it's an argument with a significant other or a boardroom full of colleagues, facing conflict is a great way to learn more about others. If you pay attention, you will learn not only about their particular points of view, but also about the way they choose to argue. If you pay close attention, you can pick up a lot of information about others when you actively engage in conflict. 


3. You understand yourself. Another surprising benefit of conflict is that you can learn a great deal about yourself when you are participating in conflict. You learn not only what you believe about that particular topic, but you also learn more about how you choose to raise points, what pushes your buttons, and what makes you more open to others. If you listen to what you're saying and pay close attention to your body language, you can learn a great deal about yourself and your conflict style. 


4. You see different perspectives. Whether or not you agree with those you are in conflict with, engaging in conflict will allow you the opportunity to see different perspectives -- if you remain open to listening to others. Though you don't have to agree with everything others say, if you want to benefit from conflict you must keep an open mind and be willing to hear with others have to say. You might not agree with another's perspective, but at least you can see it!


5. You practice communication. Communication is a critical aspect of living a positive life, and dealing with conflict is one way to practice the way you communicate with others. The less you engage in conflict, the less practice you have communicating about difficult topics -- but the more you engage in it, the more practice you'll have. This is not to say you should engage in conflict unnecessarily -- just don't be afraid of participating when it comes your way because you may benefit from it more than you would think. 


It may be tempting to avoid conflict when it comes your way, but realize that there is much that can be gained from facing a confrontation head-on. Waiting to deal with things can be good in some cases -- such as when you're particularly angry and need to cool down -- but often it's best to deal with a situation before it gets out of hand. Conflict can be a hard thing to face, but I do believe there is value in addressing it. Oddly enough, a lot of positive things can come from conflict! 


How do you deal with conflict? Is it something you avoid? 
Are there any other benefits to engaging in conflict?  


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I too try my hardest to avoid conflict. It's tough, but most times I handle it pretty well...others, not soo much. Mostly depends on what it is that is causing the conflict, if it's my Mother, well....

Great article...I do believe we learn so much through conflict...and grow to be more peaceful in the process.

I love your perspective on conflict. I think that in conflict it is so important to respond and not to simply react, otherwise we tend to go on autopilot and miss the value that can be gained.

Dawn - You brought up a great point in that how others handle conflict can really impact the way you handle it. That's so true and that's a great reason to be even more conscious of how we choose to act in conflicted situations. So glad you liked the article! Thanks for reading!

Jason - Thank you! It can be really difficult not to just react when it comes to conflict (something I struggle with!), but when we do stop and really pay attention to what's happening, there's a lot we can learn from it.

I am glad for a different perspective on conflict. Thanks for sharing a well-written post! Like you, I don't like confrontations or fights. When I am tuned in, I know that external conflicts are really a reflection of my inner turmoil. I don't enjoy the feeling of discomfort but in the order for it to dissipate completely, it means that I have to address from within. This means, no running away or shoving aside the negative emotions.

Evelyn - You're welcome! I'm glad you liked this post. It can be hard to deal with confrontation, but there is something valuable in it if we look hard enough. And, as you said, often external conflicts have to do with our inner turmoil, something we need to address within ourselves. Great point!

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