When conflict and cooperation collide

There are two things that couples really struggle with, and frequently ask me to help them with in Relationship Coaching.

Those two things are:-

  • Conflict
  • Cooperation

Often, couples find that these two elements clash. They get stuck in the conflict, and a a result stop cooperating. So when I tell them that both can exist at the same time, this can at first seem like a contradiction.

As a Nature-inspired Relationship Coach, I find it helpful use examples from Nature to explain this.

In Nature, we have a paradox. On the one hand, conflict and competition is necessary to ensure survival. And on the other hand it also relies on cooperation for survival.

For example, plants compete with each other for available light, and animals compete for food and mates, which leads to conflict. Any living species needs to create boundaries around itself for protection, which leads to conflict when a boundary is breached.

And Nature also cooperates in amazing ways.

A few months ago, I was out walking with my partner through a beautiful woodland local to our home, enjoying the peace and stillness, when we heard a shreaking, distressed cry coming from the trees above us. When we looked up we saw a grey squirrel sitting on one of the branches of a horsechestnut tree. He was clearly warning his fellow squirrels that they were in imminent danger. At first I assumed the squirrel had become threatened by our presence. It took a minute or so before we could see what the real danger was. There was a cat stalking in the undergrowth.

What struck me was the fact that in calling a warning to others, the squirrel was drawing attention to himself, making himself more vulnerable. Just to save others. Cooperation seems to be a recurring pattern in Nature.

Did you know why geese fly in a V shape? This is because the way that geese flap their wings, the air currents produced mean that the geese behind them get an extra lift, so if they fly in a group and arrange themselves correctly, every goose behind the leader doesn’t have to flap as much to maintain altitude and forward momentum. And when the lead goose tires, another one takes over.

We see how ants work together to share labour, or flocks or birds fly together, all changing direction suddenly at the same time. It’s as though ants and birds share a collective consciousness to achieve a common goal.

Nature is full of conflict, cooperation, paradoxes, opposites, contradictions, but it always maintains a balance, harmony and equilibrium.

It tells us that conflict is a natural part of us, that not only is it unavoidable, but that it is necessary. Without conflict, nothing changes, If nothing changes it is because it is not moving, growing, transforming. And when something living stops moving, it ceases to exist.

But what it also tells us is that cooperation is essential for us to be able to co-exist alongside each other, to make living more pleasant and enjoyable, and manage conflict in a satisfactory way.

As a Relationship Coach, one of the ways I help couples to manage their conflict in a cooperative way is through compassionate communication. This is an essential toolkit for any joyful and harmonious relationship. Working with me it means that you both have a safe space from which to share your feelings, that you can both be heard, that you can empathise with each other, and feel accepted by each other. This does not mean that you have to agree on everything. You just need to be prepared to see the grain of truth, the validity, in what your partner is saying.

If you would like my help to resolve conflict in a more meaningful and compassionate way, why not start by downloading my FREE Communication Guide for Couples? You can also sign up to my Newsletter, which is always packed full of advice and guidance for couples.

And if there is ever anything that you would like me to cover either through my written content or Facebook Livestreams – just let me know – I would love to hear from you!

And remember, just like you would a beautiful garden, always maintain your relationship to watch it thrive!

Krystal2Relationship Coach Logo2X

P.S. Coming soon – If you would personally like my expert support to learn the EXACT techniques and steps to resolve conflict effectively without hurt, anger and frustration, you will soon be able to sign up for my Compassionate Conflict for Couples E-Course. At just £99 it is incredible value for at least 8 hours of coaching, and the first 10 people who sign up will receive a bonus 1:1 coaching call with me, absolutely FREE! These places will go fast and are strictly on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you would like any further information about this course or want to be notified as soon as it is released, or have anything else that you would like help with, I would be delighted to hear from you. Just PM me on Facebook or email me at krystal@woodbridgetherapy.co.uk.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

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