By Ken Strongman
Conflicts are an undeniable part of human existence, weaving their intricate threads through the tapestry of our lives. Yet, have you ever wondered why conflicts seem to have a recurring cast of characters, like the timeless ingredients in a beloved recipe? In the world of conflicts, needs, perceptions, power, values, and emotions dance together, creating a choreography that’s both complex and captivating. Join me on this journey as we uncover the secrets of these conflict ingredients. Discover how understanding them can bring resolution to your disputes, restore harmony, and transform discord into an opportunity for growth.
All conflicts share similar ingredients. These ingredients may vary in quantity, but most conflicts involve them in some way.
Needs – We have physical requirements essential to our well-being, and conflicts arise when we ignore others’ needs, our own needs, or the group’s needs. It is important not to confuse needs with desires, as desires are things, we would like to have but are not essential.
Perceptions – Humans interpret reality differently. They perceive differences in the severity, causes, and consequences of problems. Misperceptions or differing perceptions may stem from self-perceptions, others’ perceptions, varying perceptions of situations, and perceptions of threat. How something is framed affects its perception, so in conflict resolution, reframing becomes an important task to reach a solution.
Power – People’s definition and use of power significantly influence the number and types of conflicts that occur. This also affects how conflict is managed. Conflicts can arise when people attempt to make others change their actions or gain an unfair advantage, as this is a powerful human motivation. Everyone desires to establish or reestablish the perception of control.
Values – Values are beliefs or principles we deem crucial. Serious conflicts arise when people hold incompatible values or when values are unclear. Conflicts also occur when one party refuses to acknowledge that the other party regards something as a value rather than a preference. To resolve the conflict, clarify each party’s values.
Feelings and emotions – All people let their feelings and emotions significantly influence how they deal with conflict. Conflicts can also occur because people neglect their own or others’ feelings and emotions, and other conflicts may arise when feelings and emotions differ on a particular issue.