10 QUICK TIPS TO RESOLVE FAMILY FEUDS

Families can be our greatest source of joy as well as a never ending cause of stress. Comprised of a diverse blend of personalities, families are a mixture of quirky behaviors, opposing viewpoints, various needs, beliefs, and values, along with opposing methods of how members perform certain tasks. Being unskilled at even the most basic aspects of resolving conflicts, as most of us are, can result in minor differences escalating our stress levels and causing tempers to flare. Keep in mind that every member, regardless of how easy-going, intelligent or advanced in age, contributes to the dynamics of the family unit. Some may overtly create drama while others do so in a more discreet manner. Recognizing the subtleties of each person’s actions along with understanding the motives behind them can better enable individuals to address the underlying (or real) issues and find reasonable solutions.

It is critical, however, that each party recognize their own contributions to the so-called problems of the family while vowing to become part of the solution instead. Therefore, before engaging in the process, ask yourself the following questions: What has my role in this situation been? How have I contributed to the breakdown of our family unit? Is it my attitude, actions, words, or lack thereof? On every level, we are either part of the problem or part of the solution. I must first take inventory of my destructive contributions before I can expect to achieve any degree of success with other members. Assuming I have successfully completely this task and corrected any transgressions , I can now proceed using the following 10 strategies to resolve family feuds:

1. As respectfully as possible (it is always possible), and without making accusations, clearly and succinctly identify the area that needs attention. State facts only, not opinions.
“We need to address the imbalance of chores in our family to make certain each person is doing their fair share.” I need not go into a lengthy dissertation about how I do the bulk of the work and specifically what chores I’m burdened with while pointing out that my lazy good-for-nothing brother spends all of his time with his friends and never lifts a finger around the house. Name calling, blame, and exaggerations never fair well in resolving family disputes.

2. Remove all distractions such as all technology, small children or any projects you may be working on. This enables all parties to be fully engaged with one another.
Expect that for the next 15 or 30 minutes or so, everyone involved will focus their full attention on discussing the issue at hand. If necessary, write down the subject matter on a piece of paper that can easily serve as a visual reminder of what issue is being addressed. Refer to it whenever necessary.

3. Allow each party ample time to state what is on their mind without interruption. In this way, each individual will relax knowing they will have adequate time to express their thoughts and concerns.
Assign a facilitator who will direct and manage the course of the discussion. The use of an egg timer (or watch) can be a valuable asset. Initially each person is given 2-3 minutes to state their concerns or position. When everyone has had the opportunity to speak, the discussion can be opened to random comments. Provide the “speaker” with a small device to hold, such as a pencil. No one may interrupt whomever holds the pencil. The facilitator will ensure each person is granted equal time speaking by passing the pencil on to the next family member.

4. Validate their perspective. Consider their feelings, needs, desires, and such as valid as your own, even if you vehemently disagree with them. Listen with your heart, not simply your ears. This is compassion.
Remember that for each individual their feelings, perception, desires, etc are as valuable and real to them as yours are to you. You need not share them in order to understand this concept. Be gracious and thoughtful.

5. Ask questions to gain deeper insight into what they are saying.
Typically, people will make statements, form judgments, or argue with their opposing family member. True resolution is attained by each person’s willingness to better understand the others. Rather than state, “You only think about yourself”, ask “How did you come to this decision? Have you considered how it would impact those around you?”

6. Avoid criticizing or making fun of them. Be respectful at all times.
Contrary to popular belief, respect does not need to be earned. It is a God-given right of all human beings. The word itself means “to value”. To respect someone simply means that you recognize their worth as equal to yours and all of humanity. Their opinions, beliefs, and behaviors may be questionable but we are none of those. Attack the problem, not the person; comment on the actions, never belittle the individual. Be certain you understand the difference – it’s critical.

7. Avoid blame or accusations. Both are destructive and will sabotage any progress from occurring.
When something goes awry, we need a target to direct our anger at. Blame reveals a lack of introspection and self-accountability. It is self-defeating and robs us of our personal power. Accusations are assumptions based on supposition rather than fact. Dealing with fact-based information is significantly more productive.

8. Inquire as to what they need from you for this issue to be resolved. Listen open mindedly and non-defensively. Discuss whether or not you will be able to accommodate their needs. Make any necessary adjustments.
Expressing concern for the other party’s happiness, safety, success, etc is the beginning of building trust. This is the foundation for all healthy relationships and a critical component for effectively resolving disagreements. People are more inclined to cooperate with those they trust as they know the other person has their best interest at heart as well as their own. Be generous in this area. You will be well rewarded.

9. State your position, needs, feelings, wants, etc. Express what you need from them in order to put this issue to rest. Make certain your requests are fair and reasonable.
Generally speaking, your needs are as important as the other party’s. I say generally because there are instances where an issue matters more to one person than it does to the other. In situations such as these, one can concede and allow the other to obtain what they need. However, if you feel strongly about your position, put forth a reasonable request and be certain that on some level yours are being fulfilled as well.

10. Compromise. A “winner takes all” mentality is never a solution. All parties must feel satisfied in some way in order for the issue to truly be resolved once and for all. Thank them for taking the time to work through this issue.
Finding the middle ground is a sign of truly caring about the other person. Again, this is a building block of trust and trust fosters healthy, sustainable relationships. Respect and trust convert to cooperation, a necessary component to comprehensive conflict resolution. Put your ego aside and consider the other person as you would want them to consider you.

Families will always disagree on things but our differences needn’t escalate into full blown family feuds. Each member plays a vital role in the wholeness and integrity of the unit. When we learn to embrace the uniqueness and giftedness of each individual, we can utilize those qualities to strengthen and enrich the whole. And we can finally live in harmony with and enjoy our families, free from fighting and drama.

Q: “The only way to peaceful coexistence is through compassionate understanding and support. Allow each family member to be who they are, always encouraging them to be the joyful people they were created to be.”

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The Flying Winemaker- Michel Rolland- The Connected Table LIVE Sept 13

The Connected Table Live

He’s been called “The Flying Winemaker” whose international influence in the world of wine is unparalleled. Bordeaux-based Oenologist Michel Rolland consults for more than 100 estates in 14 countries. Another 400 estates utilize the services of his laboratories located in France and Mendoza for analysis and advice. And at an age when many contemplate slowing down to stop and smell the roses, Michel is still living a life in the air and on the ground tending the vines, blending with finesse and turning out world-class wines. He turns 70 on December 24 this year and celebrates his 45th harvest in Bordeaux.

Michel Rolland (Photo: Clos de los Siete)

Michel was raised on his family estate, Château Le Bon-Pasteur, in Pomerol. With wife, Dany, he oversees several of his own properties in Bordeaux and collaborations such as Clos de los Siete in Argentina. His global footprint has made its mark with the hundreds of wineries that seek out his expertise that has made him an international star in the world of wine. To name just a few of the numerous estates that he’s worked with:  Chile (Casa Lapostelle), Spain (Rolland Galarreta), Italy (Tenuta dell’Ornellaia,Tolaini, Campo de Sasso), California (Araujo, Harlin, Staglin, Screaming Eagle and Jericho Canyon) and France (Château Figeac, Château Bonnet, Château La Louvière, Pape Clément, Phélan-Ségur and dozens more.)

We’re delighted to have Michel take a break from his viticultural globe-trotting, especially during harvest in the northern hemisphere, to join us September 13, 2pm EST for the full 50 minute show. We’ll be taking questions in our chat room (W4CY.com) or you can email your questions for Michel to us at melanie@theconnectedtable.com

 

The Connected Table Live

Melanie Young and David Ransom are the insatiably curious culinary couple. Connected on Twitter@connectedtable Facebook/connectedtable. Instagram.com/theconnectedtable. Learn more at www.theconnectedtable.com

IT’S NOT FAIR!

At one time or another, we’ve all complained that life isn’t fair. Children do it all the time: Karen, who is older by two years, is allowed to stay up later than her younger siblings. They complain to dad that they’re being treated unjustly, not realizing that at the same age her bedtime was thirty minutes earlier. As adults, we attribute this behavior to immaturity and expect that as children grow and develop this rationale will make way for a more judicious way of thinking . Sadly, many people carry this mind-set with them well into adulthood. Two of my favorite comedians from years back, Tom and Dick Smothers, had a standing skit where one grumbled that “Mom always liked you best!”, indicating a biased favoritism. On stage, this is entertaining. In real life, it’s unflattering and harmful.

Gary Zukov, NY Times bestselling author of The Seat of the Soul, says that the most important thing we have are our belief systems. Our entire lives are built upon them and if inaccurate we struggle and suffer. Believing that life was designed to be fair and balanced is a faulty tenet. When we see an perceived injustice we seek to recreate rightfulness. When it is not forthcoming, we feel frustrated and discriminated against. “I should have gotten that promotion, not the boss’s son. I’ve been here longer. That’s not fair!”

In our relationships, especially the close, personal or intimate ones, this kind of mindset can prove devastating. There are those who actually keep score: “I helped you when you needed it. Now you should give me a hand as well. That’s only right.” “I paid for our last evening out. Now it’s your turn.” In an attempt to keep things equitable, we manipulate the other party into feeling guilty should they decline our request. Seeking equality is a futile endeavor – it simply does not exist in an imperfect world inhabited by imperfect human beings. Attempting to do so is one of the quickest ways to build anger and resentment – toxic ingredients capable of destroying lives.

Life isn’t fair yet it is perfectly just. The lyrics to a Colin Raye song state that “You don’t always get what you want, you get what you need.” If we subscribe to this premise, which I do, then life is exactly what we need it to be. Each experience, each individual, each loss, each success is exactly what is necessary for us to fulfill our Divine Destiny, our Dharma (as Wayne Dyer calls it). If my child wants to be a great artist, I provide them with the proper canvases, brushes, and paints. If my son has a sprained ankle, I get him crutches. Identical? No. Fair? Yes. Each is receiving exactly what they need in that moment for their own good. Fair does not mean the same – it means having equal value. We become angry in part because we mistakenly assign random values to events and then compare what each of us has.

One of our greatest challenges lies in realizing that we are not meant to be treated alike but that the Universe, in all of its infinite wisdom, always provides exactly what we are meant to have for our higher good and that each experience has equal value.

What then is the solution to avoiding the bitterness and resentment assigned to the belief that life should be fair?
1. Remember that if life were perfectly balanced we would learn nothing: patience, appreciation, determination, forgiveness, and much more.
2. Celebrate the successes of others, extend compassion for their losses regardless of where you are in life, knowing that at the precise moment it is needed each will receive what they are intended to have.
3. Keep in mind that every single experience, no matter how insignificant, no matter how painful or frightening plays a unique role in fulfilling our Divine Destiny – which is always to bring us closer to God.
4. Don’t compare or keep score. One never fully realizes the challenges others are struggling with. Focus only on addressing and learning from your own. Failure to do so leads to self-pity, victimization, misery, and suffering.
5. Trust that God’s love for you always directs you to your highest good. Be at peace with your life. You are in good hands, the best hands, with God.

Life may not appear to be fair but it is always unbiased. Each of us is given exactly what we need to assist us in our spiritual growth and to bring us into a more intimate relationship with our Lord. Sounds pretty just to me.

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