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I hate conflict. Chalk it up to my childhood. My parents were of the authoritarian mindset, the children should be seen and not heard and preferably not seen either.  There was no questioning their authority. No arguing. And no stomping up the stairs to your bedroom if you disagreed. The parents got to yell and the kids had to take it. I never learned how to verbally defend myself or manage conflict, so when conflict rears its ugly head, I get stressed and tend to take it personally.

Lately, I’ve had to deal with a number of situations involving conflict. In an effort not to take it so personally, I try to mentally give myself some distance by asking what the larger lesson is in having to deal with the conflict. Being agnostic, I look at the situation from two world views – one in which there is a God and one in which God does not exist.

In the God exists worldview, I imagine that God must be sending me all this conflict in order to build my courage and skill in dealing with conflict.

In the God doesn’t exist worldview, I imagine that some people are just jerks and if I want to do anything in life, I’m going to have to deal with conflict because no one gets a jerk-free life. That’s just the way it goes.

As an agnostic, I can actually live with both explanations without any mental conflict.