My definition of conflict is:

"When two incompatible strategies for fulfilling our needs cause emotions that make a mutually satisfying solution harder to achieve."

Conflicts arise when the our strategies for fulfilling our needs are incompatible with the strategies of others and when that gives rise to feelings that make it harder so achieve a solution or way forward that is satisfying to all parties involved.

Therefore a conflict has an emotional charge. Without that emotional charge it is per this definition not a conflict. So to understand conflicts and to be able to manage them in a good way we need to honor that there are feelings involved, whether those feelings are openly admitted and communicated or not.

The magic formula of life

We have certain things we want in life. Those wants are directly connected to different strategies, things we do, or don't do. Like we want a new car, so the strategy is to buy a car and perhaps work hard for the money to buy that car or take out a loan at the bank.

The thing about these wants are that they are not the end goal. We want those things, use those strategies, because they will fulfill a need we have. The car in the example above might satisfy your need for mobility.

But that need is not the end goal either. What we really want is to feel a certain way, to experience a certain state. When our needs our fulfilled, we feel a certain way. We experience feelings such as joy, happiness, satisfaction, love and so on.

One of my teachers said that the quality of our life is directly related to the feelings and emotional states we experience on a regular basis. Experience regularly feelings such as irritation, frustration, anger, resentment and your life basically sucks in many ways. On the other hand, be a regular in experiencing creativity, companionship, passion, serenity and you have the basis for a pretty great life.

So when our needs are fulfilled we get that great experience of a yummy feeling. The opposite is also true, when are needs are not met, when our needs are not fulfilled, we experience less desirable feelings as those mentioned above.