When we are in a conflicts we tend to be pulled towards the affirmation of what we want. Being both parties so engaged in this exercise of asserting dominance inevitably something get lost in translations.
Think of countries, religious or political groups that have been fighting each other for 10 or 20 years and have learned so little about the other in all that time.
The Dalai Lama say that when you talk you learn nothing, you may be right, but you learn nothing, only when you listening you can open up to learning.
Not showing too much of themselves within a conflict can feel also as a defense mechanism, a way to keep you safe. For the other party to have information about us feels like an opening for those information to be used against us and subsequently an higher chance of losing the conflict.
You can probably easy imagine or you may have observed first hand the effect this attitude has on conflicts: they become exacerbated and more difficult to solve each day that goes by.
When I work with couples I prefer to assume a different approach. I am really curious about how each of the party has reached that specific point of view that is now causing conflict. Somehow it always turns out they are both right when you manage to see things from their perspective, when you take the time to listen and understand the other, where he/she is coming from and why.
The complexity of every individual is so fascinating, rich in meaning and coloured by all sort of things taking place inside. When a conflict is not anymore between two closed off individual trying to be right, but between two complex people that are open to reveal themselves and eager to see and open up to the complexity of the other, then you have a completely different scenario.
The goal is not anymore to be right but to know each other, to discover what is going on in the world of the other, the inner world. What move the other to do what he/she does?
This is surely a remedy to create contact between two people. What is conflict if not simply the absence of contact, the interruption of the flow between two engaged human being that can potentially create deep contact and understanding.
Restoring the contact becomes then really urgent within a conflict.
Rarely is the contact broken with the express intention to hurt the other, more often are hurt feelings that lead us to hide away to a place in ourselves where we feel safe, however safe this place may feel, it is often closed off from the other. The complexity and depth of this secluded place in ourselves when we end up hiding away is to be discovered, explored, honoured and acknowledged in the journey of healing of one selves and also as part of the healing of the relationship.
The conflict become then irrelevant at this point, it is all about contact, understanding, connection. When we are truly connected we are safe.
It may look like this applies mainly to love relationship, however I believe even conflict between countries or political parties could be radically transformative for the all world if approached from the perspective of creating connection and understanding.