What Does It Mean to Be “Conflict Free”?
Posted January 17, 2019 Conflict Mastery by Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler, Ph.D.
I recently asked some close friends and colleagues to offer me feedback on the first draft of my book, Optimal Outcomes: How to Free Yourself (and Others) from Conflict–At Home, At Work, In Life (scheduled to be published by HarperBusiness in January 2020).
Two of my colleagues told me that they don’t believe it is desirable, nor possible, to become conflict-free. They believe that conflict is a natural part of life, and that our goal should be to work with it, rather than try to become free from it.
I agree that conflict is a natural, normal, and necessary part of life. And I believe that freeing yourself from conflict is a worthy goal. I need to clarify what I mean when I say “free yourself (and others) from conflict.”
I don’t mean that your goal should be to rid yourself from all conflict, or that it is even possible or desirable to live completely free from conflict. Without conflict, the world would be a very boring place. There would be no interesting plot lines in books or plays or movies. There would be little innovation. Some conflict– a healthy amount of conflict– is and should remain part of a well-functioning life, team, organization and society.
However, when conflict is ongoing– when it comes up again and again despite your own or others’ attempts to resolve it– and causes suffering, then it helps to learn how to free yourself from it.
If you have become bogged down by a situation– it is constantly on your mind, leaving you upset, distracting you from healthier and more productive activities– my goal is to help you free yourself from that kind of tyranny.
The practices in the book will help you free yourself from something that is causing you and others to suffer; that is preventing you from living and contributing at your highest potential.
When you do the practices in the book, you will regain your ability to contribute to work and life at your highest potential, rather than staying stuck in a situation that distracts you from your mission, prevents you from accomplishing your best work, and that causes suffering.
I hope this brings a sense of clarity and interest in learning to free yourself (and others) from conflict.