No one ever tells us to stop running away from fear. We are very rarely told to move closer, to just be there, to become familiar with fear. I once asked the Zen master Kobun Chino Roshi how he related with fear, and he said, “I agree. I agree.” But the advice we usually get is to sweeten it up, smooth it over, take a pill, or distract ourselves, but by all means make it go away.
Chödrön, Pema. (2000). When things fall apart. Boston: Shambhala Publications, p. 4.
As with fear, we often get the same advice about conflict, i.e., “make it go away”. Transformative mediators believe that conflict is a crisis in human interaction that can only be addressed by working through the interaction itself, as negative and destructive as it may appear, with the support of a trained intervenor. Conflict like fear can’t be made to go away, but people can gain strength of self, clarity and openness to the other through engaging with conflict in order to move on.