#2 – The Essence of Conflict

by Sue Hawkes

#2 – The Essence of Conflict

At its essence, most conflict is an argument between two things: intent and impact. One person claims their feelings are a direct result of the other persons words and actions, and the other person claims they had no intent to cause any of that impact. It’s simple really, but usually tough to de-tangle.

There’s a presupposition from Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) which states “the meaning of your communication is the response that you get.” What this means to me is that if my intent is pure (read “has no agenda”) when any person outside of me reacts – favorably, poorly or anything in between – I am able to explain, expand or shift gears to clarify my message with patience and care until the other person “gets it” as intended. It places accountability for the communication on the speaker.

Some people believe it places an unfair burden on the speaker. I believe it is the most powerful place to communicate from because it causes me to flex to my audience, tell the truth about my intentions and become a more versatile speaker overall. If I truly don’t intend to harm anyone with my words or actions, when they react in any way other than is receptive, it should inform me of how to respond until they receive it. Any reaction otherwise suggests I have work to do on my part. Though I may not like it, that’s where I must begin my own growth…again and again.

It’s simple, though not always easy. The next time you’re triggered/emotionally reactive to someone, stop. Take a breath and slow down to ask yourself why you’re reacting – regardless of what the other person said or did. Do your work to find out why you’re reacting. You wouldn’t have a reaction if your intent was pure, there would be nothing to trigger. Try it. Simple, not easy.

Sue Hawkes#2 – The Essence of Conflict