Can Conflict in Stories Influence Your Personal Conflict in Life? Part 1

Sword of Doom
by Gavin Bloys

There is no denying that conflict is a not only a large, but an unavoidable part of life.  No matter what you do, there is always something or someone who creates a tension between the reality of what is and what it is you desire.  And the way we deal with this conflict can shape the outcome of our lives.

Because conflict is so prevalent in our lives it is only natural to find so much of it within literature.  Every great story has conflict, and often more than one type.  You don’t have to look far to find a protagonist who is struggling with some kind of conflict.  Whether internally or externally, it is the conflict and the process of overcoming it that drives a story forward.

So, is it possible to learn from the conflict in these stories and apply it to our the conflict we experience in life?  Let’s explore a little.

External Conflict

Even in stories, external conflict is perhaps the most obvious form of conflict that we can find.  People are not perfect (as much as we might like them to be), and as such we are bound to do things that conflict with others and vice versa.  Sometimes this conflict escalates into physical altercations, but often in life it stays on the verbal level.  Regardless of what level of conflict you are dealing with, you can approach it in a couple of different ways.

  • You can avoid the situation
  • You can face the situation head on

In the stories that I have read I have found that the heroes who avoid situations are often forced to deal with a much worse problem that could have been avoided had said heroes dealt with the problem to begin with.  Whatever the reasons the hero had, the decision to avoid a problem ultimately comes back to haunt them.

In the same way, there is conflict that we experience in our lives that often could have been prevented in the first place had we addressed a problem we had a while back.  I understand that, for most people, handling conflict in a good and constructive manner is incredibly difficult and it is often easier to just ignore the problem until it goes away.  However, that problem will keep returning again and again, and each time it will be a little worse until you are forced to find some kind of resolution.

I am a people pleaser.  I often weigh multiple aspects of a conflict before I ever approach the person I am having issues with, and frequently I elect not to approach the individual at all.  This is by far not the healthiest approach, but I say it because I want to make it clear that I really do understand how hard it is to present a problem.

But, just like the stories I’ve read, if you can summon your courage and attack the problem with a calm and open mind you may be surprised by the results.  Who knows, maybe things will turn out better than you could ever expect.

My thoughts on internal conflict and its application coming in part 2.

Question for today:  Since it’s possible to learn from the stories we read how to deal with contact, in what ways do you think the conflict in our lives can affect our writing in a positive way?

Let me know what you think!

Grace and Peace.


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