Interpersonal disputes are multi-layered and an onion is an apt metaphor to describe the many dimensions of conflict. An onion also reflects the many layers of the other person and of us. Our hearts and brains, our spiritual being, our bodies are all parts of us that are effected when we are in conflict. Each layer adds to the mystery and confusion conflict creates inside us.

Though we may come to our disputes with historical experiences that have built on one another, each new conflict adds or supports another layer. If we are able to analyze what the layers of the conflict are made of and what may have led to their growth, we have the chance of exploring things reflectively. For instance, we may see that, like an onion, there is a circle, symmetry, and consistency about how we manage conflict. We may realize that conflict has substance but that it can be cut through. We may discover how conflict, like onions, can add flavour to our lives and can even nurture us. We know we can grow onions, fry them, eat them, and throw them away.

This week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog is about considering the onion as a metaphor for the layers of a dispute you have had. Consider one that is in the recent past as you answer these questions, or take a present conflict and consider its layers.

  • What about the metaphor of an onion resonates most in relation to your experience of being in conflict?
  • What doesn’t resonate?
  • If you were to pull back the layers of your recent dispute, what would you find the layers are made of?
  • What brings tears to your eyes about the dispute?
  • Which other layer or layers had the most impact on your reaction in the recent dispute?
  • How do you describe the impact?
  • What part of the dispute has healthy (or could have some healthy) effects?
  • What may help bring out those healthy (or potentially healthy) effects?
  • When you consider your dispute to be like an onion, how does that help you manage it more effectively?
  • What other vegetable is a metaphor for the same dispute and why?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

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