Conflict and Desire


A lesson to live by:  All conflict is result of denied desire.

Conflict is almost always manifested as “I want something someone else has.”

It could be their candy, their time, their affection, their money, their status, their friends, their mate, their stuff, their life, on and on…


You could take it.  That would be an external conflict.

You could suffer without it.  That would an internal conflict.

You could work/change to have what they have.  That would be a personal conflict.


Denying a desire creates conflict.  Let’s step out of the ethereal and get into the practical.


Work conflict.


I want these people to proper fill out their forms.  I desire their attention.  I desire their concern to do what I want.  Ultimately, I want to get things done and I can’t because of this.


If you start to look at conflict in its base element you can begin to address it in the most effective way.

Ask yourself, “How do I get what I desire?”


Successfully resolved conflict is not hurting the other person as you were hurt, that doesn’t get you what you want.  When you do that you are making a false equivalence.  You hurt me… so I hurt you until you stop hurting me.  This feels right because it appeals to the most primal part of conflict, external or physical.  The problem is that it doesn’t translate past physical threats.

Going back to our example:  If these people won’t fill out their forms correctly and so you stop helping them then ultimately nothing gets done.  That is opposite of your ultimate desire, to get things done!

So how do you get what you want?

You need to get them to what you want… your ultimate desire.  You need them to want to get things done as much you do.  If they want it as much as you do ten there will be no conflict as you are all committed to common goal of getting things done.  That single purpose drives all interactions and sets the rules for the relationship.

The conflict is resolved only when the denied desire is fulfilled or abandoned.


Personal Conflict


I desire to have this kind of relationship with that person.

If they desire that same kind of relationship then there is no conflict.

If they do not desire that same kind of relationship then there is conflict.


It is that simple.  It really is.


Example: I want my family to treat me a certain way.  When they don’t I feel bad, angry, or stressed and I want to feel calm and accepted.  Ultimately, I want to feel happy.


This comes down to a matter of choices.


The people in your life will choose to treat you how you want to be treated.

When they treat you want to be treated you happy and your Ultimate desire is to be happy.

You want someone to treat as a lover, a friend, a brother, sister, son or daughter… whatever it is.  You have an idea of what that looks like and you desire them to conform to it.


That is their choice.  To treat you the way you desire or not.


Your choice is to accept it or not.  You cannot resolve the conflict by hurting them like they hurt you.  Again, this is primal our usually our first response.


You desire your relationship to conform to your ideas of what it should be and to the degree it does is the degree that the relationship exists.


HOWEVER!  This puts two responsibilities on you.  (Pay attention here kiddos!)


  • You must know and communicate your desires. If you are vague or unsure of what you want then you are the cause of the conflict.
  • You must be willing to confront the conflict. If you desire one thing but tolerate a lesser because you fear or have no desire for conflict then you are actually making the choice to accept relationship as is and are not entitled your desires.


That being said… conflict is not bad boys and girls.  Conflict is your desires and your willingness to go after them.  The conflict is no worse than your desires are.  If your desires are valid then so the conflict should be worth it.  Count the cost and know exactly what you are in conflict for.


One thought on “Conflict and Desire

  1. Pingback: Oh… Really?  An Article on Planning… Ugh Fine!  (Part 1 of 3.  Really?  3 Parts!) | Insomniac Gorilla

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