The Gift Of Conflict

From the Harmony Habit Tip Archives (June 2011):

“There is no such thing as a problem, without a gift for you in its hands.”
~ Richard Bach



That’s quite a concept!

Is there really a gift to be found in every problem? Did Richard Bach honestly believe that was true? If so, some might say he was looking at life with rose colored glasses. And yet what a refreshing way to view the world!

purple giftImagine what life would be like if we approached every relationship challenge as if it was a “gift” waiting to be opened? We would undoubtedly respond with more curiosity, enthusiasm and gratitude. We might even experience a renewed eagerness to work things out with someone; to discover what opportunity – or life lesson – was about to present itself. Perhaps we might learn, for instance:

•  That we really don’t make much of an effort to understand others
•  We quickly react or jump to conclusions without considering others’ viewpoints
•  We’re not very good at listening
•  We consistently look for what’s not working, rather than what’s right.

What a “gift” it would be to identify that limiting behavior, own up to it, and course-correct before it becomes a deeply ingrained, unchangeable habit. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Our greatest strength lies in our ability to remake ourselves.”

Yet, instead of viewing conflict as an opportunity for a personal make-over, many of us tend to automatically slip into self-preservation mode. Instinctually, we aim to protect ourselves, rather than consciously choose to learn and grow from the experience.

Some of us slip into an old pattern of avoiding the challenge all together. Still others are quick on the draw, meeting conflict head on, yet not very skillfully. Either way we miss out on the “gift” that may be hidden there.

I wonder what our life and relationships might be like if we each made it a point to examine the “gift” of conflict more consciously? Perhaps we’d discover how abundant our capacity is for life and uncover all sorts of possibilities for building greater relationships and connecting on much more meaningful levels.


This week’s practice:

Think about a conflict that’s current in your life. Are you able to view it as a special “lesson”? Is there possibly ‘a “gift” for you in its hands’ that you may have been overlooking? If you could step back from all the drama, and think about what’s really underneath the wild ride, might you discover something about yourself that could help you grow personally or professionally?

For instance, is there a longing to be seen, heard or understood in a way that you’re not experiencing? What in your mind or heart may have to change? Or, are you possibly frustrated that your needs are not being met, yet also realize that the responsibility lies within you to do something about that? Do you need to find the courage to broach the subject, or learn a new skill? What do you need to do differently?

What action do you need to take around your challenge this week to claim the “gift” for yourself?


movie roll iconWatch a short video of Mary discussing
“Fight-Flight” response.

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