Discussion/Response: Managing Conflict/Conflict as Metaphor
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After studying Lessons 13. 1 and 13.2, you’ll want to prepare for this assignment by carefully thinking about how you “view” conflict. Is it a “necessary evil”? Do you see it as something you’d rather “run from” or do you relish a “good fight”?
How do you approach a conflicting situation? Do you try to avoid it at all costs? Do you “come out swinging” with the attitude of “it’s my way or the highway”? Do you try to “accommodate” and “play nice” in most challenging scenarios?
You see, we often react to conflict or “deal with it” based on how we visualize it. So, take some time here to develop your perspective of “conflict”. Ask yourself, “how do I view conflict”? Can you distill your view to a single metaphoric statement?
If you’re not familiar with metaphor as a figure of speech, think about it as taking an abstract object or action and comparing it to a concrete concept, action, or object in order to clarify or better understand the first abstract thought or notion. You see, we want to clarify or identify hidden similarities between the two.
Basically, when we compare the abstract thought to a more concrete thought we understand it better…. we get a better grasp of the meaning. A metaphor however is not a definition it’s figurative language and it’s often quite eloquent and theatrical. For example, the phrase
“The eyes are the windows of the soul”
is an expressive and eloquent way to say that an individual’s eyes can help us see who they are as a human being. We can see a person’s emotional state or character by looking deep into their eyes. The eyes are not literally windows, but if you take the time to listen and look at someone deeply in conversation you may find out the essence of who they are as a human being. Another way to think of it could be “Kayla’s eyes are the windows of her soul.” We can see Kayla’s emotional state by looking into her expressive eyes.
Another example of a metaphoric phrase is
“Patience is a virtue.”
Having patience is an asset. It’s a gift. It is enduring. It is a persistent quality…. a durable and desirable characteristic.
And finally, we can make the metaphoric statement
“Love is blind”
when we are in the throes of love (consumed with love) and we may not be capable of seeing the flaws in our loved one. We may not choose to see the flaws or we are incapable of seeing the flaws or inadequacies of our loved one.
Do you see how metaphors can help make sense of challenging terms or experiences. So, can we create a metaphor for conflict? How do you “see” conflict? What is your perspective?
- “an airplane flying to the ground” — (preparing to land or about to crash land)
- “biting your lip” — (it hurts but you do it anyway)
- “a strong cup of coffee” — (you need it to wake up in the morning, but too much keeps you from sleeping at night)
Here’s your opportunity to be creative in your thinking….
1. Develop your own unique perspective of “conflict” into a single metaphoric statement and include it at the top of your post. Be original. Make it your own. It’s critical that you complete this work first.
2. Only then do you want to watch the following video-
While doing so, ask yourself:
- How does my metaphor reflect how I think and feel about conflict? What are the options inside the metaphor?
- Does my metaphor orient me to see the “ugliness” or the “beauty” in conflict?
- How might I transform my metaphor to transform my view of conflict and thereby transform my relationships?
- In what ways can I use conflict communication as a tool to deepen and grow my relationships that are near and dear to me? (Use the story in the video or your own experience to think about this.)
TEDx Talks. (2016a, December 1). The beauty of conflict | Clair Canfield | TEDxUSU [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55n9pH_A0O8
3. Develop your response to these prompts using a minimum of 15 to 20 sentences and post them below your metaphor statement.