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“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means,” this quote by Ronald Regan shows that conflict is an inevitable part of society. Conflict is a fundamental part of life and is always present for every individual throughout their everyday life. Encountering conflict means to face or handle conflict and the ways in which we go about trying to resolve it. Different types of conflict can be local, national, religious, political, economic or cultural.
There are a number of reasons why conflict occurs; difference in beliefs, morals, religion and values, fear and unmatched expectations. Conflict has a number of different causes, consequences and ways it can be resolved. Individuals are entitled to their own opinion, which often causes dismay to others. Conflict is a huge part of social experiences which allows us to learn and grow. The nature of conflict shows that conflict can either push people away or bring them into having a closer, more comfortable relationship.
Many people try to avoid conflict and try to find a way around it – even if this isn’t the right thing to do.
Without conflict in a relationship can mean individuals cannot express their true opinions, thoughts and feelings for example; when an argument in the family arises, without the skills to negotiate and deal with the conflict, there will never be a positive outcome. Conflict comes in many different forms- political, religious, interpersonal, family, all of these deals with issues that arise due to difference of opinion or belief and are an inevitable part of human life.
There are a wide range of causes as to why conflict occurs. Whether big or small, conflict is usually cause by a difference of opinion. Some cases of conflict are extremely small and harmless- a fight with your sibling about ‘who gets the bathroom first’ or an argument with friend, others can be more serious and potentially life threatening like war and murder. Causes of conflict that involve family, friends or in the workplace can be explained by personality clash, competition or even just a misunderstanding. As subjects like politics, religion and culture are sensitive issues to which individuals can be very opinionated about; conflicts that occur can have a big impact- negative or positive. When conflict arises from these more serious issues it can be caused by difference of opinion from a leader, a desire for power or a countries disagreement with their political party.
Although conflict can allow people to express their views and work co-operatively with others, the negative effects can often be permanent in cases of war or murder. No one deals or reacts to conflict in the same way- every person handles it differently. How a person reacts to conflict shows a sense of their identity and perception of one’s self. Many people shy away from conflict and aim to avoid it at all cost. Others confront it in a way that allows it to be resolved. For example, when a disagreement in the workplace occurs, will an individual express their opinion even if it means an argument? Or will they conform and agree with whom is involved? Or when a physical fight breaks out, will an individual stay calm and collected? Or will they retaliate and fight back. Reactions to conflict expose ones personality and limitations which is important as part of everyday life. Examples of severe conflicts where many lives have been lost are usually well known historical events. The conflict in Northern Ireland showed how difference of political views can cause major conflict and ultimately death and destruction. This conflict was primarily a political one due to the constitutional state of Northern Ireland – the Unionists wanted Northern Ireland to remain a part of the United Kingdom and the Protestants who wanted to leave the United Kingdom and join a united Ireland.
This conflict lead to the loss of 29 innocent lives and proved what conflict can do when dealt in the wrong way. Conflict needs to be resolved in order to move forward. When dealing with conflict in domestic places- home, school, work- it is usually easy to overcome. The most effective way to solve these issues is to negotiate and find some sort of ‘middle ground’ that both parties agree on. By solving conflict effectively can allow you to grow socially and emotionally. Resolving conflict can improve someone’s understanding, group cohesion and self-knowledge which is essential as you move on through life. In cases of war and the ‘Omagh bomb’ conflict can sometimes not be resolved; the loss of innocent lives cannot be brought back and the destruction and psychological trauma cannot be reversed. In saying that, in order to move on, a negotiation or agreement must occur for a conflict to be resolved and help people involved to deal with the consequences of the conflict.
Ultimately, conflict is a part of being human and cannot be completely avoided. We must learn to deal with conflict and be able to respond to it in an appropriate manner. According to M Esther Harding, “Conflict is the beginning of consciousness,” from which we can gather that conflict will always arise due to a person’s opinions, beliefs and values. Although conflict can have serious negative consequences, it can provide realistic and achievable positive outcomes which allow you to develop as a person and gain extremely important knowledge which you will value as you go through life.
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