Don't live with unnecessary conflicts...

Don't live with unnecessary conflicts...

Don't live with unnecessary conflicts...

Dina and Sharad met in the college, fell in love and got married once they both landed jobs. The two-year courtship period led them to believe that they knew each other well enough to take the plunge. But as their careers progressed, Dina developed extraordinary skills leaving Sharad way behind. While she smiled her way to a very high position, Sharad started resenting her. He became brash and abusive.

He pressured Dina to quit her job and have a baby even though she wasn’t ready for motherhood. They quarreled every day. When sessions with a marriage counsellor didn’t help, their conflict ended in an ugly divorce.

This is a common story in millions of Indian homes today. Because of the phenomenal rise in the status of women, countless lives have improved. Often, they are seen doing better than their spouses and other men in the family. This has become a major cause of conflict. Who will now ‘rule’ the household? Who will have the last word? Who will raise the children?

It’s not just the big questions. Major fights can be triggered even by the tiniest of manifestations of a hurt ego. If relationships have to be brought back on track, we need to identify the cause of the conflict seriously and try dealing with it.

Comparisons, control, constant criticism and ego trips are a few.

Many people think that they can look tall if they belittle others. So at every opportunity, they use language that ‘puts the other person in his or her place’. This gives the perpetrator a special kind of sadistic pleasure. The victims have their own compulsions and cannot always walk away from the situation for various reasons.

Firstly, we have to accept that resolving conflicts, whether in office, among friends, within the community or at home, is a huge challenge that saps one’s energy because in most cases, pride and ego prevent both sides from being flexible.

An attitude of fair-play and justice always sets the right tone for resolving conflicts. We need to study the cause of the conflict, its depth and severity and then plan a course of action that could  help resolve the differences. We need to trace the fine wires that connect to the egos and interests of both parties.

Even friends or family can be guilty of exaggerating facts. There can be a whole lot of lies and a quagmire of falsehoods. Cut all these out by being direct. Try to be rational and do not seek revenge.

Listen to all parties separately without prejudice, gender bias or preferences. You can think of a solution after you’ve considered all sides of the story. It is also vital to have empathy. Sometimes, both parties can be wrong. If this is the case, you need to take a hard look at yourself and admit your mistakes.

Speak to each person in private to help them be open and truthful. The reasons why people want to hurt others are innumerable and they need to be brought out from the dark recesses of the heart of the affected and then discussed and thrown out if possible. While taking on the role of the counsellor, under no circumstances should we indulge in criticism and put downs.

Wisdom is not the prerogative of elders or elderly people. Young minds often look at situations with great clarity and offer new solutions to old problems. If the crisis is not very serious, you can ask younger family members or friends to come out with new, flexible solutions.

We gain so much from our seniors, bosses at work, sports gurus, teachers and parents. When we see conflicts in our families or among friends, we can offer to help by using this collective wisdom proudly to make trust and respect the foundation of all relations.

Developing emotional intelligence is another approach to study conflicts and understand them in depth. Psychologists say that it is the ability to identify, understand, and control the emotions of one’s own self as well as others including groups. We need to develop and use our mental powers to resolve as many conflicts as possible in this age of hurry and worry and the rising need for a ‘jury’ to solve problems.