Take your gloves off but stay in the arena!

When a conflict arises there are traditionally several ways to deal with it. One is all out war! That means that a person isn’t willing to compromise and that he is absolutely sure that he is right – there’s no wiggle room. It’s a “take no prisoners” thought process and often leads to total destruction – of a relationship, a company, a country, or a person. War requires a willingness to live in a black and white world. For such a person the many shades of grey don’t exist.


A less extreme method of dealing with conflict is to listen to an opposing argument while acknowledging that the differing opinion might hold some validity. Being open to compromise can result in a solution where both sides of the dispute can find some kind of satisfaction. However, for some, the word compromise carries a negative aura. Such people equate compromise with defeat and failure.


Another tactic is avoidance. If she avoids any contact with the opposition, she can pretend that the disagreement doesn’t exist. It might be simmering below the surface, but there is no need to make any declaration or defining stance which might lead to an unpleasant interaction. Damage may be going on by using the avoidance tactic; however, it’s not easily discernible to eyes that refuse to see.


The most effective way to deal with a skirmish is to collaborate. Collaboration goes beyond compromise. Not only are the opposing factions willing to listen to the other side, they actively seek a solution that meets the needs of each viewpoint. This is the most mature way of dealing with discord. It can help create a harmony that is sustainable over the long haul.


On the road to a healthy lifestyle, a person can experience each one of the above conflict management styles. Initially, an individual will declare war on themselves – he is going to bombard his previous engrained habits of eating poorly and rarely exercising. Slam, bang! Never again. Nothing less than perfection going forward is acceptable. This all or nothing attitude, too often, results in destroying the best of intentions.


Compromise can work. If a person eats an unhealthy meal, then additional time spent working out can alleviate the packing on of extra calories. However, it’s a tit for tat kind of solution where a person spends a lot of time judging. Sometimes the individual is “good” and sometimes she is “bad”.


Avoiding the need for building good eating habits along with healthy exercise by pretending it isn’t necessary is a form of blindness. Perception may be reality but illness, heart disease and obesity eventually will cause a perception shift! What is happening beneath the body’s outer layer of skin will eventually surface.


The most effective approach to creating better healthy eating and exercise habits is to collaborate. Finding a solution that takes into consideration special life events like birthday parties and holiday feasts with the occasional bad weather days when outdoor exercise activities are cancelled helps a person to make adjustments without making judgments about themselves. By allowing the grey shades to enter into one’s life, it is possible to achieve the goal of health without beating oneself up. Collaboration between the conflicting needs and desires of life is the way to maintain a balanced body, mind, and soul.



© 2012 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.