Is avoiding conflict tough for you lately? There’s no denying that our world can be one of disagreements and conflict. That’s often the natural flow of traffic around us. It can be far easier to put up the emotional walls and engage in disagreement than to practice peacemaking. In fact, smoothing things over is kind of a lost art.
However, learning to get along with others is well worth the effort it takes to discover. To disagree can seem strong and powerful. No doubt, doing so can tear down and destroy in so many ways. However, you could argue that is the opposite of true, lasting power. Through conflict avoidance in relationships, you can wield far greater power. The strength to bring people together, heal and restore. And that’s something that conflict could never accomplish.
What are some ways to become a peacemaker in an agitated world? Here are some thoughts on preventing conflict and promoting peace.
Focus on Your Inner World First
Learning how to be a peacemaker isn’t something you can “fake until you make it.” Whether that involves getting along with co-workers or a significant other, it must go deeper than simply applying the correct façade. If not, resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness will eventually play out in your words and actions. And that will inevitably lead to conflict.
Peacemaking also isn’t something you can bring about by sheer willpower. Instead, it’s something you first must grow and cultivate inside your inner world.
In her “Psychology Today” article entitled How to Become a Peacemaker, Radhule B. Weininger M.D. Ph.D. shares the following:
“To become a peacemaker, a person first needs to build peace within their hearts—that mysterious organ of physiological, psychological, and spiritual perception and connection.”
What follows are some ways to build that inner peace. As your perspective gradually changes, this process will become much more manageable.
Focus on the Good in Others
Do you have the sneaky suspicion that the people around you have negative personality traits and quirks? If so, you’re right! If you go looking for these flaws, you’ll surely find them. We all have them, after all.
At the same time, if you look for the good in others, you’ll find that too. There are many positive aspects to the people you rub shoulders with daily. Will you find negative traits or positive ones? That largely depends on what you go looking for.
When you work at seeing the good in others, it becomes easier to relate to them, and you mesh better. Other people pick up on the vibes we send their way because of nonverbal communication that is either positive or negative. We sometimes think we’re fooling others by not revealing our true intentions. Still, those are eventually betrayed by our body language. People finally feel how we feel about them, even if we don’t verbalize it.
Suppose you choose to see the good in others. In that case, people will be drawn to you, and you will generally have a more peaceful relationship. In the same way, if someone notices you have something against them, this will eventually lead to conflict. Nobody wants to continue with an interaction where they’re immediately judged and looked down on.
For that reason, look for the good in others (even if it’s hard to find). Doing so will bring out the best in others while smoothing over many potential conflicts, both petty and significant.
Remember, You Don’t Have to Agree on Everything to Get Along
Sometimes this notion exists that if you disagree on some topics, then you can’t get along or be friends. Almost as if disagreeing means you dislike or hate someone. But this is primarily an unworkable conclusion.
We need to be prepared for differences of opinions in all our relationships because they’re bound to happen. But when they do, make the goal to let go of what you disagree on and focus on what you have in common. Besides, imagine what a boring world it would be if we all thought the same way!
At the same time, disagreements can happen between you and a significant other or someone else close to you which leads to constant fighting and conflict. When this happens, it’s wise to seek out the experience of a skilled therapist to minimize any further damage and bring restoration to the relationship. You’ll discover how to avoid arguments regardless of the setting you find yourself in.
Find Ways to Be Kind to Others
If you learn new ways to be kind to others, you’ll naturally get along with each other better. Being kind doesn’t mean you have to buy everyone expensive gifts and give beyond your ability.
Instead, it’s a skill you can grow as you learn to see the good in others. It can involve holding the door for someone, giving a genuine compliment or being a listening ear when someone is going through a tough time. It can also mean greeting someone with a smile or offering an encouraging word or positive spin on life.
Many times, it’s thought that being kind towards others changes their view of you. While there’s no denying this is true, it isn’t the most powerful transformation that happens.
Instead, it’s the change that happens inside of you. When you are intentionally kind to others, you become actively invested in their wellbeing. As a result, it becomes ever easier to continue looking out for their best interests in the future. Discovering how to get along with others often begins with the simplest act of kindness.
Remember Avoiding Conflict Isn’t Always Healthy
In closing, it’s critical to remember that conflict isn’t always avoidable. Sometimes, despite our best attempts, conflict happens. Occasionally, tough conversations need to occur because essential aspects of our lives are being threatened.
Of course, at these times, do your best to work through these disagreements with as much peace as possible. At the same time, smoothing everything over at all costs won’t get you the needed results. In fact, it will only lead to more significant conflict later.
That’s because challenging discussions sometimes must happen before you can rebuild a foundation of peace in your relationships. Any lingering elephants hanging out in the room will need to be handled before you can, once again, move towards tranquility.
Avoiding Conflict: Therapy Can Help
While this article highlighted some practical steps to take toward becoming a peacemaker, there are plenty of times when getting along is anything but easy. It can feel like you’ve tried everything, and nothing is working. Or there are times when you think you’re getting along reasonably well with others, but you want to find ways to do better.
Either way, a therapist can help you discover proven ways to resolve conflicts, arguments, and disagreements, leading to a happier and more fulfilled life. Learning how to avoid arguments in a relationship is possible despite how it may feel now.