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Self-Reflection Lessens Conflict


Photo by DANNY G on Unsplash


We all have occasional conflict with people in our lives, but have you ever wondered why certain people really get your goat? Have you ever considered looking inward and reflecting on where the conflict comes from or how your own issues might be a factor? I've found that we often have the most conflict with a person who is the most like us. We might recognize a trait like stubbornness or impulsivity and are reminded of our own shortcomings. When we are with that person with negative traits similar to our own, it triggers personal awareness and internal conflict. We might try to avoid that person or shut them out, but just as often we don't even recognize that we share similar traits or understand why it's so hard to be around them. Or maybe that person elicits hurt feelings from a prior relationship where the conflicts were never resolved, so the wound remains open and the residual emotion is amplified. Let's face it, we can all be annoying and irritating at times, but consider why certain people get under your skin. Could it be a shared personality trait or maybe unresolved conflict that this person triggers?


Often it is much easier to identify flaws in others and criticize their actions than to take a look at ourselves. Of course people can hurt us and sometimes treat us with disrespect which may require us to limit or eliminate our connection. But harboring negative emotions or choosing to lash out only perpetuates your own angst, bitterness, and resentment. Certainly we don't want to remain in relationship with toxic people who continually hurt us. However, we do want to release the pain they've caused and consider forgiveness. Maybe we have to work around this person and can't avoid seeing them. Is it possible to treat them cordially and with respect?


We can recognize and accept that all humans are flawed, broken, and imperfect. Understanding why this person triggers such strong emotions in us may be helpful and possibly bring out some compassion for them. Sometimes it helps to separate ourselves from the offensive comment or action and instead recognize that someone else's issue doesn't have to become our problem. As mentioned above, the traits in another person that set us off may be characteristics in ourselves that we would rather not admit or acknowledge. Accept that we can't control others but can control our response to other people by shifting our focus from blaming to changing. Recognize that the amount of time, thought, and emotional energy spent on conflicts with others who can't or won't change is wasted and can be used for more positive endeavors. Reflect on the root of your hurt and consider resolving those issues rather than displacing them onto others. Lastly find peace when you let go of emotional pain and stop feeding it through destructive and damaging choices. Self-reflection is often a step towards better relationships.



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