I’ve been thinking a lot about peace and conflict lately. Probably, because I am doing my master’s IN peace and conflict and I am forced to read and read…and read about it all the time. But I’ve also been thinking about personal conflict lately- and the way that myself and others deal with conflict. I am starting to think that we’ve got this certain “way” here of dealing with conflict when it arises. I am not sure if it’s a Canadian way. a Western way…or what, but I am pretty sure it’s bad. I’ve also been noticing, that we have a climate of competition- I think this is directly linked to capitalism and our western way of thinking. Let me explain…

So, we are taught- indirectly and directly, that we must strive to be the best- even as a child, most activities kids do are highly competitive. I can say this, because I am highly competitive- it’s bad…sometimes I don’t have fun if I don’t win. A favourite family fable (that happens to be true) was when my Nana kicked my ass at snakes and ladders and I cried- and she refused to let me win. This wasn’t last week surprisingly, it was when I was about 5. Needless to say, competition is all around us – and we try to find our niche in order to become the smartest/most athletic/most popular/best looking/richest/holiest/most involved/most radical, etc. I think this ultra-competitive atmosphere that we are raised in really messes with us. Why? Because not everyone can be number one. AND – number two and beyond generally have beef with whoever ends up being number one. Not to mention that fact that everyone has a different perception of reality, and people have a tendency to be jealous.

I say all this about competition because I think it creates conflict- and if it doesn’t create conflict then it exacerbates it.
So, we have conflict in our lives. It’s inevitable, natural and can be harmless- when dealt with correctly. But this is the thing…I think we rarely deal with conflict properly. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, we don’t like feeling weak and admitting that we are intimidated/jealous/insecure etc. What are the chances that I am going to really like someone who I don’t think likes me? Secondly, I think us humans are pretty clueless when it comes to understanding each other. I can’t tell you how many times I have felt upset or wronged by someone who had NO idea they had done anything wrong- and I have definitely been on the other side of that too. Thirdly and finally, I think we live in a culture that allows and maybe perpetuates passive aggressive behavior. Passive aggressive behaviour is defined as this (screw you academia- I am using wikipedia!) But I digress…

I think all too often I act this way instead of dealing with the issue. But I don’t think it’s just me…or maybe it is and I am just delusional. I guess what I am really trying to say, is that life would be a lot better and our relationships would be a lot healthier if when conflict arose, whether it’s one sided or not, we actually address the problem- instead of being cold, distant, sarcastic, mean-spirited or any of those other passive-aggressive defense mechanisms that I (i should speak for myself here) usually use.

I feel like this is a negative behavior that has really come into the light for me lately and I feel like if I am serious about being the kind of person who I think I am meant to be, then this is something I am really going to need to curb. No matter what someone has done, I owe it to them to confront the issue, lovingly and with maturity.

I feel like I need to add a qualifier here- I am not sure why this has recently come to me. I don’t know exactly what prompted me to realize that I have acted this way in the past. It came to me lying in bed the other night…mind you that might have been the night I dreamt that this girl in my program was working for CityTV doing election results. I think I need to sleep more! Perhaps that is the moral here!

Regardless, many apologies for the rant…and for your time that you spent reading this! Please don’t get mad that I wasted your time and start to act all cold and funny around me 🙂


3 thoughts on “Conflict

  1. hmmmmmmmm (that’s my deep thinking noise)

    maybe the issue with competition is that we try to be better than everyone else instead of just trying to be the best version of ourselves we can be…

    which is easy for me to say, since I’m the best at everything there is

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