There is something interesting about conflict and stress. For most people, it is difficult to explain when stress or conflict start.
They only experience them, when it’s too late. Everyone has his or her sense of what conflict or stress is. Usually, they’ll note them, when they have become uncomfortable. That’s because conflict and stress usually are linked with something negative. They’ll perceive it when their level of discomfort has been reached.
The thing is, both have some positive aspects and usefulness.
You can, for example, perceive stress as any sign, as small as can be, of discomfort. In transactional analysis, we’ll talk for example about drivers as the first signs of stress. Drivers are like orders we have a compulsion to follow. There are five of them which we’ll be following according to our preferences. They are: be strong, try hard, be perfect, please people and hurry up. There are multiple reasons why they may pop up, all of the reasons are linked to the situation the person is in. The interesting part is, that they can occur from one second to the other and can disappear just as quickly. If they don’t, there is a risk that they reinforce each other and lead to behavior which is linked to negative stress.
In the beginning, they are small warnings. When ignoring them, they’ll gain in importance. Which explains how stress can be put on a scale from the smallest warnings to burnout.
With conflict things are similar. On one side of the scale, you’ll find for example armed conflict. On the other side of the scale, you’ll find small misunderstandings or an exchange of diverging ideas. Here again, the lack of awareness of the impact diverging ideas may have eases the appearance of situations in which people struggle with one another. Which is unfortunate, as it often reduces the willingness of individuals to disagree. Even then, when disagreement is necessary to find a path to a common solution.
By seeing conflict or stress as something located on a scale from almost not perceptible to very much perceptible, we allow ourselves to stay aware of the potential which is in the dynamic. Knowing the potential we can assess it and react to it before either stress or conflict have become too much for our individual scale.