I always used to avoid conflict at all costs.
Any confrontation or argument has always made me incredibly uncomfortable.
Earlier this year, I learned an incredible lesson about conflict from a wise mentor that I will never forget.
When a Spanish bullfighter enters the ring, they find themselves in a situation where a large angry bull is charging right towards them, full speed ahead.
How does the bullfighter react?
They do not lower their head and butt horns head-on with the bull. Doing so would be incredibly damaging and painful. So instead, they wave a red cape to their side and let the angry bull charge right through it with ease without letting the bull rattle them.
Often when we find ourselves in a conflict, our natural tendency is to react immediately and butt heads with the other person coming straight at us.
Doing so often results in a heated confrontation where emotions run high and unfortunate things are often done and said. The situation can get out of control quickly, which is usually painful and unproductive for everyone involved.
A better strategy is to let the person charging toward you flow through your imaginary red cape with ease, just like the bullfighter does.
By avoiding an immediate knee-jerk reaction and not letting the initial confrontation rattle you, it’s much easier to remain calm, not take the situation personally, and react in a much more productive manner. This rational response usually catches the other party off guard, as they were most likely expecting to lock horns. The situation often de-escalates and comes to a resolution very quickly as a result.
With this strategy, I’ve become much better at handling conflict and no longer try to avoid it at all costs like I used to.