Life presents us with an ongoing series of situations that can strain our relationships and tug and pull apart our connections. Getting along with people is a life-long endeavor. But conflict is a natural part of life, with the potential to arise when we face resistance, pressure, change, or interaction. It brings up uncomfortable feelings because we often don’t know how to relate to situations which we see as threatening to our well being. Whenever friction arises from unmet or competing needs, wants and values, a gap occurs, creating a “connection chasm.” Whether a small fissure or a gaping gulf, chasms cause frustration, discomfort, separation, and angst.
Our judgements, assumptions, frustrations, annoyances, misunderstandings, expectations, suspicions, opposing perspectives and more can all spark conflict, an inevitable part of life’s interactions. When a connection chasm forms, anger, whether mild or wild can result. Yet our anger doesn’t have to eat us up, pollute the atmosphere or ruin our relationships. In fact, it’s often because we don’t deal with the discomfort chasms create that we continue to be distressed, drained, and disconnected by them.
The desire to have your needs met and your intention to connect can bring you to the edge of your resourcefulness. Fortunately, when connections go awry and a bundle of emotions are brewing, there are ways to navigate over troubled water and get things back on track. By making wise choices and choosing the desired direction in the inevitable twists and turns of your interactions, you become empowered to manage conflicts rather than to be ensnared in them.
Although conflict is often avoided, it is inevitable. By seeing conflict as a natural part of life, it simply shows where a relationship needs attention. With this perspective, it can be seen as a change agent for creating and maintaining dynamic, purposeful relationships.
Frequent Causes of Connection Chasms Include:
- Criticism and condemnation
- Hanging on and hard-heartedness
- Aggravations and assumptions
- Self-righteousness and stubbornness
- Misunderstandings and mind games