Every writer knows that a good story requires colourful characters and conditions where they can express themselves. An interesting plot is unconceivable without a conflict. It does not matter whether it is a quarrel between two persons, a confrontation between different groups or a mental fight. From fairy tales to social novels, from plays to poetry, from flash fiction to trilogies – every piece of literature needs a conflict. As Veronica Roth wrote, ‘If there’s no conflict, there are no stories worth telling – or reading’. However, what if this statement is applicable not only to made-up stories, but also to real lives?
Despite the difference of the professions we have, all of us are authors of our destinies. Every day we write a story. We fill it with emotions, acts, prayers, aims and conflicts.
Each of our characters are unique, and it is no wonder that sometimes they come to opposition. Different goals as well as the same ones can become a great source of competition and antipathy. We dispute with our friends protecting a particular point of view, we argue with our neighbors proving that 75 decibels of music at 3 a. m. is too noisy, we take offence at leaving dirty cups by our household members… So many everyday situations can bring conflicts into our lives, but isn’t it great?
Controversy serves the cause of truth; a conflict is a good chance to say about our feelings and worries, and after a quarrel, there comes peace. Conflicts fill a life; they move it; they help to pass decisions and act.
However, is it true for all of us? Are conflicts present in every life? I think they are. Of course, you can avoid conflict situations, your friends can share all of your ideas, your neighbors and household members can be perfect, or you can live alone, you can have benevolent colleagues and an ideal boss, or you can be a boss yourself… You can be the most peaceful person, but it doesn’t make your life free of conflicts.
There are two main reasons for that. Firstly, a life without conflicts is impossible because a person cannot have views that would not be opposite to someone else’s ones. Avoiding conflicts on a personal level does not guarantee that one is out of group conflicts. There are different political opinions, different styles of art, different diets… Living in the world where so many differences exist requires making choices, and as our choices cannot be the same, we constantly are in a state of a conflict even we do not feel it.
The second reason is there are conflicts inside of us. In the same way as in literature, in our real lives, it is possible to separate conflicts into internal and external. We can have no evil genius and even no people with whom it is possible to quarrel, but inside conflicts are always with us. On the one hand, it is a chance to get out of a comfort zone and to follow a dream, but on the other hand – a possibility to keep the achievements we have. On the one hand, it is a need to stand up for being unfairly treated, on the other hand, there are benefits of keeping silence. On the one hand, it is an uncertainty, on the other hand, it is a stability. On the one hand, one can listen to an inner voice, on the other hand – to someone’s advice. How many times have we faced these conflicts? Nobody can be free of them.
External and internal conflicts are interrelated. The first ones generate the latter. Sometimes external conflicts arise without our partaking, but only we are responsible for their resolving, for choices made in our mental fight. A person meeting an external conflict can pass by or act – and act in a particular way. So many conflicts and so much responsibility!
Making a decision is not as easy as it seems at first. One needs to think carefully. Often opening one door requires closing another – in order to archive something, we sacrifice something else. Each small decision adds up to a large one. Finally, we all have to decide what kind of person to be – brave or cowardly, honest or deceitful, grateful for every day and the present or disappointed because of failures. It is life – a story full of conflicts, where each choice has its consequences.
One day, today’s life will become a history. Will it be worth telling or reading? In my opinion, it depends not only on the conflicts we have, but also on the decisions we make. This is similar to writing. An author creates a conflict of a story not to show the conflict itself, but to describe heroes’ decisions and that way to present the characters of these heroes. Could we know about the kindness and Cinderella’s ability to forgive if she lived happily with the Prince from the beginning to the end of the fairy tale? I think it would be impossible. As well as through resolving a conflict a writer describes a character, making a choice, we express ourselves.
It is important to remember that in our lives, we are not readers or listeners – we are authors and heroes. Our stories can be full of love, despair, integrity, mistakes, honour… Only we are responsible for this. Will the stories be ordinary or great? It is a question that requires making a choice – a conflict we are involved at this moment. Be inspired! Resolve it! Write a story worth telling and reading.