Conflict. A difference in interests, principles or views, which leads to active disagreements, controversy and quarrels. Whether it is Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un bickering over their nuclear buttons, or just the typical quarrel between friends and family, everyone experiences conflict at some point of time in their lives. Whilst many people face conflict, not many know how to manage it. There are three main types of conflict – internal conflict, community-based conflict and societal or global conflict Today I shall attempt to provide some solutions for resolving and managing each type of conflict.Let us start off with internal conflict. Internal conflict refers to a conflict within self. When one experiences internal conflict, one part of us disagrees with what the other part is doing. Let me give an example. Many adults face internal conflict when working on a job they do not enjoy. These people work for the sake of feeding their family. However, they will always feel this constant urge to quit because of the lack of interest. This results in them being conflicted internally, as they have to continue to work despite hating what they do. The first step to managing such conflict is to face the problem. We should acknowledge the conflict by being clear about the situation. This can come in the form of writing the problem down on paper, or spending time to reflect and organise our thoughts. Thirdly, we need to stick by our values and principles. By aligning the problem with what we believe in, it becomes much easier to see what’s important and what we can sacrifice in our lives. This in turn guides us in making correct decisions when faced with problems within self. Now, let us move on to community-based conflict. This type of conflict refers to disagreements with people around us, be it friends, family or coworkers. Such conflict start to arise when different people want different things. There are three key principles in dealing with community-based conflict – self reflection, effective communication and mutual understanding. The main goal is to find a mutually beneficial agreement. To achieve this, we should not insist on our views but instead uphold humility and self control. We should evaluate whether our opinions involved desires and assumptions rather than needs and facts. We should rethink whether we were pushing the blame to others rather than being responsible. After such self reflection, we are likely to empathise with others and naturally become more understanding. We can then start to communicate respectfully and effectively with others. Effective discussions between both parties will eventually lead to the discovery of a win-win situation, where both parties can benefit.Last but not least, let me touch on societal and global conflict. This type of conflict happens on a much bigger scale, between companies, between groups of people in society and between countries. To resolve such conflicts, it is key to trace back to the the root issues and focus on finding a solution. After analysing the issues, people need to make an effort to understand the interests of others and compromise. For global conflict, we need to find elements outside of the root of the conflict, which can create a common ground, a common agenda, which can encourage cooperation and peace. In 2014, Google was accused of promoting its own services in online searches, disadvantaging their competitors’ services. Instead of fighting in court, both parties decided to work together to find a mutual resolution. As such Google avoided a potential fine by agreeing to make small changes to its search practices. As such, resolution of large scale conflicts require much negotiation, compromise of interests and mediation. In conclusion, conflict should not and cannot be avoided. Conflict can ruin you and your relationships with others. However, if properly managed, we may be able to capitalise on the differences in interests to create synergy of growth. Embracing conflict allows you to know more, learn more and experience more about yourself and the other parties. This in turn allows us to build trust and survive through difficulties with other people. Therefore, learn to approach conflict in a constructive manner, and watch how it develops you into a better person. Just as Ronald Reagan once said, “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”
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