How can we deal with conflicts better?

What are conflicts? Conflicts arise when people have contradictory jet justified needs, inside or outside.

I would consider myself an open-minded person. Still, I know I´m very German in many ways. For example, I do love my Sunday rest and peace. No loud noises, no tasks, no disturbances. My neighbour, living in the flat above me, obviously has a very different opinion on that and also enjoys African pop music very much, especially on Sundays. Now, who has a wrong need and who has a right one? There are many ways to argue in both ways but is that the important thing? The question of wrong or right lets both of us stand on fixed fronts, fixed in conflict. I think the question of wrong or right is not the best question to ask here or ever. A way more helpful question would be: What is the most desirable plus achievable place to go from here? I don´t think „being at war with your neighbour“ would be the honest answer of any of us.

One thing that makes situations like these so annoying is the feeling of helplessness that one is experiencing. I can´t just go and turn off my neighbours music. I depend on him seeing my side, I have to ask him to please do it. Depending on my life experiences so far this helplessness will trigger me or not. If my life experience so far has been that my asking is not heard, that my needs don´t matter, maybe even by the people that really should have cared, asking a stranger to do me a favour is a scary thing. That a stranger should care about my needs may seem an impossible thing then, even when in reality it is not so unlikely or uncommon. I do care about other peoples feelings, why would I assume that others are so different from me?

If I experience contrast in my life, my reality, between what I expect or want to happen and what I really find there, I always have two options to choose from, accepting or changing. Withing the possibility of changing I again have two more options: Changing myself or change reality/the outside. We tend to try changing things and changing more the outside. We consider those as the options that give us the widest range of control. That is not true. If I am upset about the noise and I choose to deal with it by changing the outside I will have to find the cause and will have to make efforts to stop it, probably against various resistances. If I choose to not let the noise upset me, the whole thing is done, problem solved. And the only resistance I could face would be in my own mind over which I am the boss. Way less effort, way more power and control.

But like in pretty much all things, a combination and balance of all possibilities might be the most favourable option. Why not find a compromise and let one need have its way for some time, and the other need another time. Believe me, African pop music can be fun. If it is certain that peace and quiet will come back soon enough.

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