>if you live any length of time, you will discover we were created to be in heathy relationships. Healthy relationships, whether peer work relationships, marriage relationships, or just friendships can foster personal growth and be very satisfying. These relationships can also be painful because as we allow others to get closer to us and to speak into our lives, we may not always agree with their perceptions of us.

Relationships can also reveal areas of both internal and external conflict that can get triggered while interacting with individuals in either personal or professional environments

Conflict is a normal part of life. People grow up sometimes without having good models on how to handle conflict. Years ago I was working with a couple for marriage counseling and as soon as I mentioned the word conflict the husband started to squirm. His interpretation of the word meant yelling and screaming to get his point across because that is what he had to do in his first family. In his marriage, he tried avoiding conflict because he did not want to behave as badly and destructively as his parents had behaved.

I don’t know anyone who likes to have to deal with conflict, but since it is a normal part of personal growth and life, I'm going to give you some practical principles that will help you in both your personal and professional lives.

1. Learn to normalize and embrace conflict. I mean understand and expect that conflict is a normal part of life and look at it as an opportunity to grow and learn some new tools.

2. Conflict is often triggered by our passions or beliefs. It can also be triggered by past history or a repeated negative pattern with an individual. Be willing to be introspective enough to look at your own triggers, and how little or much you may be contributing to the situation in question even if only a little.

3. Learn how to manage your anger in working through the conflict. The book of Proverbs says that a person without self-control is like a city with broken down walls. Proverbs 25:28

4. Often times when conflict occurs it will pull up some emotion that we may have felt in the past. This may include rejection, abandonment, anger or fear. These negative emotions can cause us to act out in ways that can be self destructive to ourselves and others.

As we are able to manage the internal conflict within ourselves, we are then able to see clearer and respond more appropriately to others in both our personal and professional lives.
This blog is the first in a series of blogs on the area of managing conflict effectively.