(Unsplash/Marcos Paulo Prado)

The art of transforming conflict

Not all conflict is negative. Understanding this can help us overcome fear and consciously choose to pursue constructive outcomes.
(Unsplash/Marcos Paulo Prado)

Soul of Nonviolence” is a podcast that reflects on a different nonviolence quote each week. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or via RSS.

“Conflict can be positive or negative, constructive or destructive, depending on what we make of it. Certainly it is rarely static—it can change at any time. We can sometimes alter its course simply by viewing it differently. We can even turn our fights into fun. Transforming conflict this way is an art, though, requiring special skills. The most important learning is not to avoid it.”
— Helena Cornelius and Shoshana Faire

This week, we explore the experience of conflict with a quote from Helena Cornelius and Shoshana Faire. Understanding that most of us are afraid of conflict and potential negative outcomes can help us ride out feelings of fear and consciously choose to pursue constructive outcomes while we’re in it.

Transforming conflict is an art requiring special skills. The art is in being able to embrace conflict, to ride out discomfort, and to learn to listen instead of focusing on being right. Deeply listening allows us to avoid the othering that can take place when we desire to be right, and in turn to prove the other person wrong. By taking a step back from conflict, we can assess what it is that we really want to achieve, and extend that same listening and compassion to the person in conflict with us to arrive at the conclusion where each of us has a piece of the truth.