Are You Content with Conflict?

I’ve been so darned content over the last few days. Where’s my muse? What to write about when one is so contented?

No worries. Just taking a little respite. Life is still offering plenty of challenges.

But this contentment has got me to thinking.

How do you feel about conflict? Do you try to avoid it at all costs? Do you see it as part of the challenge of life?

Do you find that it’s easier to argue for something or against something?

How is your life focused? Are you trying to overcome obstacles ? Or. To achieve goals?

Who are the antagonists in your life? Do you approach them as enemies or challenges?

What tools do you use when confronting a conflict? Do you have any? Only a hammer?

Am I thinking out loud tonight? A little bit. For sure. While in this state of contentment.

In her blog, Kristin Lamb wrote an awesome post on Understanding the Antagonist, which expounds on how the antagonist is the key ingredient to dramatic tension.

Conflict is the core ingredient to fiction, even literary fiction. Conflict in any novel can have many faces and often you will hear this referred to as the antagonist. The antagonist is absolutely essential for fiction. He/she/it is the engine of your story. No engine, and no forward momentum. Like cars, plots need momentum or they are dead.

The antagonist provides the energy to move the story forward. Antagonists generate genuine drama.

And so.

If there is no conflict there is no story. Isn’t that something. Doesn’t this then circle back to the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths:

  1. Life is difficult. We are always challenged.
  2. You don’t need to be pleased to be content.
  3. Peace is possible.
  4. We need to train the mind to accommodate life as it happens.

And so again.

If there is no conflict there is no life. Isn’t that something. It’s all about how we deal with conflict. And too. It’s ok to be content. There’s still a story to be had. Because there will always be an antagonist lurking somewhere.

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10 thoughts on “Are You Content with Conflict?

  1. I got lambasted last year, by some fellows you mostly know, over an El incident i related to them. Getting off the Purple at Washington, a fellow in a suit was standing right in front of the door as we pulled in, intent on boarding before we all exited. Rather than turn my shoulder to allow that, I pretty much gave him the full shoulder impact, knocking him close to the middle of next week, hoping to impart a lesson in platform manners. The lambasting was over whether I was an a**hole or not for doing that. Perhaps I was confronting conflict, and resolving it; I tend to think I was ‘holding my ground’ and ‘owning the space I was in’, rather than seeking conflict. Karma will ultimately decide…

    • Hello Larry! Well, you know how those fellows can be….An important thought to consider, is whether we approach conflict with aggression or nonaggression. With goodheartedness or malice. Perhaps that dude had a lesson coming for sure. But, how did it leave you feeling? After reflecting would you act in the same manner, or address that “conflict” with a different method? Regardless of what the fellows in the office think. It all comes down to how you feel about it.

      • I rather felt, or at least hoped, that the intended lesson was delivered, and understood. Reflecting on that incident, I’d do the same thing again, given the same circumstances, with the same message-sending intent. No malice intended, merely a physical lesson in urban transit manners…!

  2. I normally stand up for myself and am very good at conflict resolution which begins with healthy communication. But I found myself in a situation I was so unhappy with. Although I was being treated poorly and unfairly by a supposed friend, I did not want to reconcile or resolve. I just wanted out. Because I subconsciously recognized that not all battles should be fought. I did not want her to change. I no longer wanted her in my life. Because deep down I was able to see the true her and that was not who I wanted to be associated with.

    And I walked away. The conflict resounded for a few days within myself. Until I recognized that I was harboring resentment over nothing. And I walked away from that too.

    I am quite enjoying this state of peace. Absence of conflict really allows clarity.

    • I love that you saw the clear choice. To no longer have that person in your life. I was brought up believing, somehow, that this what not a choice. That you should endure all who cross your path. What craziness! We always have a choice. Especially when it come to toxic relationships. Well done!

  3. False humility often reveals itself in the avoidance of conflict at all costs. We must be willing to speak up for our values and ideals… and stand up for others.

    Been away and busy Anne… but with good things. Good to read you again!
    Blessings.

    • Hi Vince! So good to see you back! Thanks for your wonderful insight and comment.
      And also. Your book Brave Fish has had a huge impact on my life. It has opened up in me a new way of understanding my path. Thank you for being so brave in sharing your path.

  4. No life without conflict, all vanilla pudding, very dull. As years go by, it is easier to accept conflict much like the river accepts the rapids.

    Thoughtful, provocative blog, enjoy your writing!

    • Thank you so much! And You know what is so cool? That I get to visit your site and meet you there – and really appreciate the meat of your compliment and insight. Thank you! Thank you!

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