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Do You Want To Fight?
Is fighting a bad thing for relationships? Maybe it is! Maybe it is not! It depends on whether you are fighting for or against your relationship. If you are in a relationship (with Mom, Dad, Husband, Wife, Son, Daughter, Girlfriend, Boyfriend, Boss, etc. You get the picture), and if you are fighting against that relationship... of course, that is a counterproductive way to establishing a good relationship.
On the other hand, if you are not fighting for your relationship, there is a very good chance the other person senses that you are in some way fighting against them as an adversary or perhaps simply a source of stress or discouragement for them.
Are you fighting for your relationships? Are you being a team player and being cooperative to fight for it so that there is unity and harmony in your relationship? Or have you been fighting against them?
Imagine this please. You have never
met another person ever in your life. You have grown up for 23 years
some place all by yourself. It was a beautiful place. All your needs
were met. You had all the food to eat that you wanted. The weather
was perfect. There were beautiful tame animals all over that would
play with you. You had every luxury imaginable, and no reason to wear
clothes because everything was perfect. Everything, that is, except
that one little detail. You were the only human there. As far as you
knew, you were a one-of-a-kind species.
Then one day, seemingly out
of the thin blue air, you saw someone from the opposite sex standing
there naked before your eyes for the very first time. That person you
saw was perfect down to the last detail. It was the most incredibly
shocking and delightful experience of your life.
Now quickly, what
would be the very first thing you would say? Have you thought about
it yet? What would it be? Maybe, "Wow!" Maybe, "Whoa!" Maybe, "Man-oh-man!" Maybe, "Whoa-man!" Well,
I suppose there would be many possible answers. However, there is one
thing I can absolutely guarantee you would not say to that person the
very first time you met. That would be, "Do you want to fight?"
What nice thing can you say about conflict? It is
not nice to have conflict. Conflicts are not fun. Conflicts do not
make us feel happy. Conflicts do not bring joy to our hearts. Conflicts
do not make us feel at ease with the person whom we are in conflict.
What could ever cause the two people in our imaginary tale to choose
conflict over happiness? If you are past the age of two, the chance
is certain you have had some conflict in your life. Where does conflict
Now, let's fast forward to present day Earth with
an estimated population of 6.4 billion people and growing faster by
the second. Let's imagine any two people on Earth meeting for the very
first time ...umm ...this time with their clothes on. What do you suppose
would be the very first thing they would say to each other? "Well",
you may say, "It depends!" Of course, they may say most anything.
Yet, it is not too hard to imagine them saying to each other, "Do
you want to fight?" Why is that? What is going on with us to cause
so much conflict between us?
Our First Premise!
Let's establish our first premise.
Our premise is
this: in all relationships of two or more people, we prefer there
is no conflict. Nobody with a sane mind prefers conflict to harmony.
We all prefer things to go smoothly in our relationships.
It does not matter whom the relationship is with; we prefer harmony.
We prefer our relationships be beneficial to both parties involved.
It does not matter who the person is; we prefer there is no conflict
in the relationship. It may be a two-minute relationship with a sales
clerk in a store; we still do not want conflict. It may be a lifetime
relationship with friends, family or loved ones; we certain do not
want to have conflict with anyone.
Our Second Premise!
Now, if premise number one is true,
that no sane person desires conflict. (You might
want to be sitting down as you read this.) Then let us establish
our second premise.
Our second premise is this: since
we all know we have the power to choose; since we all have a free will;
since we all have had conflict in our lives; and since we all did at
least something to choose the conflict; then we are "all" insane!
You don't like the sound of that either?
Well, thanks to Merriam-Webster's dictionary,
we can shed a little light on what "insane" actually means. They
have a list of synonyms. Synonyms are words that are similar in meaning.
Here is the complete list: bananas,
batty, bedlamite, bonkers, brainsick, buggy, bughouse, bugs, crackbrained,
cracked, crackers, cracky, cranky, crazed, crazy, cuckoo, daffy,
daft, demented, deranged, disordered, distraught, fruity, loco, looney,
lunatic, mad, maniac, mental, mindless, non compos mentis, nuts,
nutsy, nutty, reasonless, screwy, teched, unbalanced, unsane, unsound,
wacky, witless, and
last but not the least ...just plain old wrong!
Now be honest. The last time you were in a
conflict, which one of those items on the list was your affliction?
Were you wacky? Were you witless? Were you mad? Perhaps like me,
you scored a perfect 100 on all of the above. Perhaps you would at
least be willing to admit that you were just plain wrong!
You understand; at
least, would you be willing to admit there is the outside chance you
did something that was wrong? Perhaps you are not even sure
what it is you did wrong. All you knew is that all of the
sudden you were involved in a conflict, and you have no idea where
the conflict came from.
Conflicts come in all shapes and sizes. My Grandfather
held his fork in his left hand, upside down. He was right handed. We
all thought he was wrong for doing it. Nobody bothered to ask him about
it. It wasn't until many years after his death we found out Grandpa
was not wrong; he was from Denmark. That is how they hold their forks
So, what was the conflict? It was the fact nobody
bothered to ask Grandpa why he held his fork upside down in his left
hand. We just thought Grandpa had bad manners. You could say it was
a small conflict. The rest of us were wrong for simply not being more
open with Grandpa and asking him about it. I am sure he would have
been glad to tell us why.
Other conflicts are much bigger. On Thanksgiving
Day, 2004, a family gathered for the traditional turkey dinner. According
to the Associated Press, "A man was charged with stabbing two
relatives who allegedly criticized his table manners during Thanksgiving
Apparently, Uncle Frank was unhappy his nephew
and brother-in-law criticized him for picking at the turkey with his
fingers instead of a knife. Now the Police charged him with assault
with attempt to murder. That is what you would call a serious family
Solving Conflicts is
going to take you on a learning adventure. Sometimes, it seems as though
many of us are clueless when it comes to understanding the nature of
conflict. We don't see it coming. We don't see what we are doing to
start it. If we do not know that we are doing something to start it,
then how could we possibly find a way to stop it? Moreover, we seldom,
if ever, have the ability to predict when the other person is going
to start a conflict with us.
This adventure is one where you will learn more
about your own character strengths in ways you never thought were possible.
It is also one of learning how to spot the character of other people
and how to communicate with them about it in productive, non-offensive
In this adventure, you will learn a brand new language.
That language is the Language of Character. It is an easy
language to learn. Anyone can learn it. The first two phases are "genuine strengths " and "counterfeit strengths ".
You will learn a lot about the difference between
genuine character strengths and counterfeit character strengths. Both
are dominant character strengths. As your proceed through the material, you will learn how important it is to see the difference
between the two. You will learn more about the effective use of genuine
You will also learn how genuine character strengths
change into counterfeit character strengths. Our dominant counterfeit
character strengths are at the very root of our conflicts. The better
you become at understanding the genuine character strengths, the
easier it will be for you to spot the counterfeits.
The more you
avoid the counterfeits in your own life, the more you will avoid
being the source of conflict to other people. Learning about your own
self is the first thing you will accomplish. Once you accomplish that,
you will be better prepared to be helpful to other willing people
who desire to improve.
So are we suggesting that your life will be conflict
By no means!
We are suggesting:
That awareness of your own character strengths
will prepare you to make better choices ...one good choice at a time!
That learning the language of character will
prepare you to address others in helpful ways.
That you will learn how to spot people's positive
character potential based on the counterfeit qualities they are
That you will learn which character strengths
you may want to either avoid or pursue in your relationships.
- That you will learn which of your own character strengths are best to avoid when you are short of temper.
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