Life Lesson On Conflict: Part 3

I’d like to investigate how to incorporate curiosity during conflict. Envision the interplay of curiosity in a conversation with a peer when you disagree. With so much conflict out there, can you address it with an open mindset and find truth in where you are through a process of reconciliation or even forgiveness.

Are you able to maintain an open mind and let go of being stuck in a rigid perspective? Are you willing to value the other person’s perspective as much as you value your own?

If you find yourself with a fixed mindset, can you practice letting go and becoming curious? One of the trickiest aspects of curiosity is acknowledging that old habits and narratives can keep us stuck in destructive patterns. Unless we notice them, we can’t change. I think it’s about getting out of your own way.

Imagine for a moment what it would feel like if you challenged yourself in letting go of feelings of entitlement or needing to be right, by resolving interpersonal tensions and accusations through a lens of compassion! 

This leads me to an important life lesson—resolving conflict takes intentional attention. The first step is to acknowledge what you’re thinking, what is actually going through your mind and to communicate authentically whatever is showing up inside you.

Opening up means making room for difficult feelings.

It means being kind to yourself and to others with the intention to prevent additional suffering. It is when you don’t identify what you’re feeling in any given moment, you quickly go to rerun feelings, old stories and habitual actions which ultimately, drive you deeper into misunderstanding and taking sides. While we can’t stop ourselves from experiencing fear, anxiety, anger and sadness, we can be intentional in the way we communicate our truth and find resolution. We can speak with care and concern. We can embrace the feelings of 'being wrong' and view ourselves as lifelong learners. We can practice forgiveness. 

The next time you are facing conflict, ask yourself whether you are willing to stay open-minded and curious enough so that you can resolve the conflict as soon as you have it. The good news, in doing so, we can grow, heal and transform together.

If you feel motivated and curious, watch A Good Day with Brother David Steindl Rast.

By Theo Koffler, public speaker, author and educator. Koffler is also the founder of Mindfulness Without Borders—a charitable organization that facilitates programs and workshops to strengthen social and emotional intelligence and secular mindfulness in the education, health and corporate sectors.