Posts Tagged ‘conflict’

SAVING AMERICA: HOW TO REVERSE HATRED AND RESTORE UNITY

Our country is experiencing the most tumultuous and dangerous period that I can remember since the race riots in the 1960’s. Political dissension, racial profiling, random massacres, gender prejudice, a reckless and deceitful media, entitlement, and more have caused a division of American of Biblical proportions. Some believe terrorism to be the greatest threat to our national security; others say it’s our economy or healthcare system. There are those who claim it’s the political venom that resides in our nation’s capital while some hold our current or prior Commander in Chief fully accountable. Yet in truth, America’s greatest threat today is the hatred and extremism among our own people.

Regardless of what’s occurring in Washington or what is being reported in the news, the division of our great country lies in the hands of each and every citizen. We are the ones responsible for buying into the rhetoric, the lies, and the repugnance put before us. We are not sheep – we are intelligent adults with intellect and free will. We have the capacity to collect data, process it, make distinctions concerning which issues or beliefs are valid, and respond in an smart, fair, open-minded, and thoughtful manner with regard to all parties concerned. It is terrifying to see how easily people are being manipulated by lies perpetrated upon them by one political side or the other or from individual citizens or groups that push their agendas of hatred and bias under the guise of equality and prosperity for all.

One cannot pick up a newspaper, turn on the news, or read social media without being subjected to hatred and divisiveness. Yet to bury one’s head in the sand and avoid facing the reality of what is happening is both unpatriotic and dangerous. This issues will not resolve themselves and will only escalate unless the courageous are willing to take a stand and peacefully put an end to this wickedness.

“All that is necessary for evil to exist in the world is for good people to do nothing.”

Here are some practical suggestions to save America and restore unity:

~ Remember that extremism never works whether it’s in regard to our political beliefs, religious practices, loyalty to our heritage, financial status or any other matter. Extremism causes a distortion of reality. Moderation creates a healthy balance and keeps everything in its proper perspective. Moderation is the solution. Consider your own beliefs and examine them for any radical ideologies.

~ Before spewing hatred of any person, party, or group, consider the impact your words will have on our entire country, including yourself, your children and grandchildren, friends, and loved one. Words are powerful and can easily result in similar actions. Consider that you can only get back in life what you send out into the world. Hatred begets hatred; kindness reaps unity.

~ Disagree without disrespect, hatred, condemnation or violence. Always be respectful to all whom you speak of or to. Disagreements can inspire growth; disrespect and condemnation can lead to aggression. We’ve disagreed peacefully with one another for over 200 years; we can do it again.

~ Listen objectively to both sides of the political agenda and media coverage in regards to policies and what is actually happening in our country. Somewhere in between the extremes lies common sense and good judgment (in regard to creating policies) and truth (in regard to reporting the facts).

~ Discuss, share, and post in person or on social media FACTS ONLY. When sharing opinions be certain to state them as such. Refrain from promoting misinformation by fact checking using reliable sources.

~ Encourage open minded dialogue for the purpose of understanding the other person’s perspective. Remember that each person’s position, no matter how different from yours, is equally as valid to them as yours is to you. If an objective must be reached, agree to some sort of compromise.

~ Go out of your way to extend a kindness to everyone you encounter regardless of familiarity, age, race, nationality, gender, political affiliation, religion (or lack of), and so on. Search for every opportunity and every excuse to perform an act of kindness for someone.

~ Accept what you cannot change. Not everything in life is meant to go your way. Mature, fair-minded adults will find some sort of internal resolution when they concede to the other person or party. Find some way of making good come out of the current circumstances and move on.

~ Realize that sometimes one side must acquiesce so that the other can gain. Remember that the pendulum always swings back in the other direction. Just as in sports: sometimes one team wins and the other loses. It’s a natural part of life. But even in so-called losses, one can extract great value.

~ Promote peace, kindness, cooperation, oneness, forgiveness, acceptance, and mutual respect. Speak it and live it. If what you are about to say or do does not fit into one of the above categories, do not engage in it. Find another option.

Never before in our history have people in this country been so gullible and bought into so many lies and distortions. Our great Constitution begins with the words, “We the people”, not “We the sheeple”. We have always been great innovators and autonomous thinkers. It’s time to get back to who we really are rather than the hateful, gullible, mindless followers we’ve become.

There’s an ancient story about a young man who approaches the great philosopher Socrates stating that he has something to tell him about one of his friends. “Before you impart any words on me,” Socrates said, “it must pass the Triple Filter Test. First have you made certain that what you’re about to tell me is absolutely true?” “Well, no,” the man replies. “It’s just something I heard.” Socrates continued. “Is it something good?” “No, not really”, the man replied. “So let me get this straight: you want to tell me something that you have not verified is true, and it’s also not good news. Is it at least useful to me?” he inquired. “No, it’s not”, the man concluded. Socrates shook his head. “It’s not true, not good, and not useful. Why then would you share this with me? What is your purpose?” The man could not give him a reasonable response. So the question is, would your words pass or fail the Triple Filter Test?

I believe in the basic goodness of the American people and I also believe that there is hope for our great country. But as citizens and visitors, we must all share in the responsibility. To blame others is both childish and irresponsible. So what are you waiting for? Will you be the one to turn things around, to take the first step to restoring civility to America? Will you be the change you want to see in others? I will and I am. I pray you’ll join me. Let’s make our country noble again by making our country kind again.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. Be great.”

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HA-HA SORB APPROACH TO BULLIES

People don’t typically want to interact with those they consider to be bullies or tyrants. Yet contrary to popular belief, bullies are not bad people. It’s their behaviors that are appalling. They act out their pain, loneliness, insecurities, and so on in the most offensive and unkind ways. But as I’ve stated repeatedly, behavior is only an outward expression of one’s internal issues. Having said that, many people are hesitant to interact with them, uncertain of the bully’s reactions or if they will be safe in doing so. Others label bullies in a very derogatory manner, stating that they are not worth their time and effort.

With the exception of those times when you or someone else is in imminent danger, there are some steps you can take to reach out and intervene with a bully.
HA-HA SORB Method stands for help, assert, humor, avoid, self-talk, own it, reach out, and befriend.

H: Help. Whenever we encounter a bully, we have two options regarding offering assistance: we can either go for it or give it. If we witness someone being mistreated, we can intervene if we feel qualified and comfortable doing so and if there is no immediate or severe threat to the self. An approach that is composed, confident, thoughtful, sincere, objective, non-threatening, and understanding can often diffuse the situation, give the bully pause for thought, and can prevent the situation from escalating. In the event the situation is of a more serious nature, one can call for or go for help, enlisting the assistance of those more qualified to intercede. We are called upon by God to be stewards for one another and either approach is a morally righteous one.
Ex: One can, “What’s going on here? Is something wrong/is there a problem? Can I help either of you?” Or, “You need to stop right now or I’m calling for help.”

A: Assert. Bullies, whether adults or children, seek to gain power and control over their targets by instilling fear in them through intimidation, threats, coercion, or manipulation. Any sign of weakness on the part of target affirms that the bully has authority thus enabling them to continue their aggressiveness. Assertive actions send a clear message to the offender, by the target, that they have the confidence and skills necessary to impede their efforts as they remain emotionally unaffected by their demands.
Ex: “I have no interest in arguing with you.” “I will not allow this to happen.” “What you are doing is unkind/illegal/against company policy and needs to stop right now before matters get worse.”

H: Humor. Humor is one of the most powerful tools for deflecting anger, neutralizing aggression, calming tensions, and diffusing a bully. However, there are some caveats. One must be certain that humor is appropriate for the situation and that it is never directed at the other party but only at the self or the circumstances.
Ex: “I can be a dork sometimes! In fact, my name is listed in the dictionary under ‘geek’ It says, ‘See Janet’.” “I can’t believe I did that – how embarrassing!”

A: Avoid. If there is someone who you know is a tyrant there is no shame in avoiding them whenever possible. Why put yourself in harm’s way or invite drama into your life when a simply change in your course of direction can alleviate any undue stress? In doing so, not only do you protect yourself but you are actually giving an unintended gift to the persecutor by not providing an opportunity for them to misbehave and possibly get in trouble.
Ex: If you know that individual always arrives at work precisely at 8 pm, either arrive slightly beforehand or enter through another doorway.

S: Self-talk. Our internal dialogue is responsible for all of our feelings. What we say to ourselves (our thoughts) determine how we feel and thus how we react or respond. Reminding ourselves that no one is born a bully, that it is a learned behavior and/or a defense mechanism, we can be more compassionate and understanding that this individual is dealing with issues of insecurity or low self-esteem. Their behaviors are an attempt to protect themselves from a perceived threat or to raise their image among their peers. Self-talk will either cause us to be fearful and angry towards them or be more understanding while boosting our self-confidence in how we deal with them.
Ex: “John’s not a bad guy. He’s a devoted father but seems insecure about his job. I can forgive him, set some boundaries, and find a way to get along with him as best as possible.”

O: Own It. If you are being targeted, take ownership for who you are, any mistakes you’ve made, any imperfections you may have, or for the simple truth about yourself. Doing so illustrates your awareness of truth, ability to feel comfortable and accepting of it, and diffuses the bullies authority over our feelings and response.
Ex: “Yes, I am grossly overweight and I know it puts me at risk for all sorts of health issues. Hopefully one day soon I’ll take action to improve my health.”

R: Reach Out. This is a difficult step that few are willing to embark upon. Reaching out to the aggressor puts one at risk for rejection, ridicule, retaliation or more. However, it is the first step to breaking down the barriers of fear they are struggling with and hopefully building some level of trust in the relationship. Undeniably challenging, this will no doubt take time and skillful effort to accomplish. Start small; be consistent; and like water running over a jagged rock and eventually smoothing the stone’s sharp edges, in time a level of trust can occur and the offensive behavior will subside.
Ex: First encounter: “Hi, John.” Second: “Hey, John. How’s it going?” Third: “John, have you seen Sharon? I need to ask her a question.”Fourth: “How was your weekend? Did you see the Yankee’s game on Saturday?” (Re: persistence and patience pays huge dividends.)

B: Befriend. As you establish a pleasant, non threatening relationship, the other party begins to see you as someone they can trust. In time, you can be a friend, on a limited basis if you choose, who can be influential in their progression from being an intimidator to a confident, secure, more approachable individual.
Ex: “My wife baked cookies last night. I brought some in for you. Hope you like them.” “Can I help you with that project?” “We’re having cake for Martha for her birthday. Won’t you please join us in the lounge?”

I want to reiterate that bullies are not bad people; they are the product of fear and insecurity.

“Those who are the most difficult to be kind to and befriend are the ones who need it the most.”

Many bullies have histories of having been mistreated or abused. What they need more than condemnation and exclusion is understanding, fair guidelines in the relationship, reasonable consequences for their offensive behaviors, and a strong support system. In this way, they can begin to heal their issues, get along better with family and peers, and lead morally upright lives.

“The only way to defeat your adversary is to make him your ally.”

Order your copy of Janet Pfeiffer’s Award-winning book on bullying: “THE ORCHIDS OF GATEWAY LANE” today! Available only at http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html
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ABCE: ANGER, BOUNDARIES, COMPASSION, ENABLING

No matter who we are or where we go in life, we encounter people who are struggling with personal issues and are not easy to engage with. They can prove challenging to deal for a variety of reasons. Often times, we feel ill-equipped to effectively deal with them. Some, feeling overwhelmed or unprepared, simply disengage and avoid any interaction at all. Others may become defensive or hostile toward them in an attempt to manage them or pressure them to change. Those who feel sympathetic, in an attempt to be supportive, can sometimes become enablers. Yet none of these fully resolves the situation.

Let’s take a moment and examine the differences between anger, boundaries, compassion, and enabling and which are productive choices and why:
Anger is a normal, healthy, useful emotion if understood and properly channeled. Anger, as are all emotions, is a messenger, a warning, that there is something in our lives that does not meet our standards. It could be a moral issue, personal or social one. Anger alerts us to the fact that something needs our attention in order to rectify it according to our beliefs and preferences. Once the message is received, there is no longer a need for anger. The entirety of our energy and efforts can be channeled into making positive changes.

Boundaries are the rules and guidelines we establish that create balance in our relationships and keep them healthy. Each party has a right to determine for themselves how they want to be treated, what they will not tolerate, and the consequences others will face should they disregard them. Boundaries can be interpreted as controlling, rigid, demanding or selfish. But in truth, if applied correctly, are an act of self-love as well as one of respect for the other party. All parties determine for themselves how they want to be treated and mature, caring adults will respect each side.
Compassion is the ability to feel another person’s pain and suffering. Similar to empathy, which also identifies and understands the person’s feelings and difficulties, compassion also encompasses a strong desire to alleviate their suffering. When we are able to put ourselves in the other person’s position and imagine how it would feel if we were experiencing it, we gain a deeper understanding of the seriousness of the incident from the other’s perspective and in that regard feel compelled to make matters better.

Enabling is characterized by making excuses for one’s poor behavior as well as engaging in ways that allow the other party to continue their self-destructive behaviors. Enablers sense the other person’s pain but are at a loss to alleviate it. They need to make themselves feel some sense of relief by not imposing further hardships on the individual and therefore don’t hold them accountable for their actions. Additionally, the troubled person is not challenged to find solutions on their own nor change their behaviors. The enabler takes full ownership for protecting that person, covering up the truth, and being fully responsible for their safety, care, and well-being. They believe that without their efforts the offender would not survive. This is certainly a grandiose way of thinking as they see themselves as saviors and martyrs and the only one capable of helping this person.

Having said that, people often have difficulty determining which approach to apply when dealing with someone who exhibits disturbing behaviors, particularly those struggling with an unforeseen hardship. Here are some common examples and how each of the ABCE apply.

Scenario 1:
Many parents find themselves with adult children who have moved back home after completing their schooling. Unable to find a job or perhaps unmotivated to do so, they become users, living off the generosity of their parents. The parents absorb all of their expenses while the child fails to pay rent or even help with household chores. “The job market is bad. Bob is searching for a really great job and doesn’t want to settle for just anything. He’s trying to figure out who he is.”

Clarification /Solution:
The parent may become angry with their child yet feel a continued sense of responsibility for their well-being. Others may feel guilty should they allow themselves to become irate. And still others may bypass anger altogether going directly to compassion instead. It is nearly impossible to seperate our child’s emotional pain from becoming ours. From this point, it’s easy to progress to making excuses: “The job market is weak – it’s not my child’s fault that he can’t find a good job as an art critic.” It’s easy to then proceed from compassion to enabling. But in doing so we prevent the child from being challenged to find his way in the world and determine for himself how he must survive on his own. Enabling cripples the child’s emotional growth and maturity, keeping them locked into the role of a dependent child.
However, by imposing limits, guidelines, and boundaries, the parent challenges the child to find their own solutions, thus forcing him to take full ownership of his life, tap into his creative genius, and push himself into maturity and independence.

Scenario 2:
You’ve been dating your boyfriend for nearly six months and realize that he is very controlling and oftentimes verbally unkind, maybe even abusive. You know his history of having grown up without his father. Being the oldest of four children and having a mother who worked two jobs to support them, he took on a lot of adult responsibilities at a very early age. He had to discipline his younger siblings, telling them what to do and not do. The pressure of raising them left him with little patience so it’s not uncommon for him to become irritated, fly off the handle, and say hurtful things.

Clarification /Solution:
Being mistreated by anyone should send up red flags and needs to trigger our anger, warning us that we are in some kind of danger. Our moral code of behavior is being violated and requires immediate attention. While it’s perfectly normal and admirable to feel compassion for any person forced to grow up under such unfortunate circumstances, one must take extreme caution not to become an enabler and make excuses for their pain and frustration. Who among us has not had to deal with hurt in our own past? Adults must take ownership and address these issues so as not to perpetrate them on others or continue to suffering themselves.
In this case, setting strong boundaries expressing how you expect to be treated and the consequences for ignoring them, is critical to the safety and well-being of the observer. Failure to do so could have deadly consequences.

Compassion is a healthy and vital attribute in all of our relationships. It shows our humanity towards one another, binds us together emotionally, and strengthens and fosters healthy caring relationships.

Enabling is fear-based (that the other party will not be ok without our intervention and protection) and satisfies our own need for grandeur and importance. Viewing oneself as a selfless savior and humanitarian is self-serving and egotistical. The dynamics of the relationship shows a predominant concern for the so-called savior’s own emotional peace of mind over the actual welfare of the other party. The offender remains emotionally crippled and dependent on their benefactor, thereby continually reinforcing the guardian’s illusion and unhealthy need of being their redeemer.

Boundaries are a healthy act of self-love (making certain one is treated with dignity and respect at all times) and respect for the other person as well, adhering to their preferences as to how they expect to be treated. While not always easy to create or enforce, boundaries are essential to the well-being and longevity of any relationship. Both parties learn to make the necessary sacrifices and accommodations to maintain the relationship (aka compromise), communicate more clearly and honestly, and ultimately value one another more as a result.

Anger, boundaries, and compassion all play a vital role in our long standing relationships. Enabling is a selfish, self-destructive behavior that ultimately wears down the enabler on an emotional, psychological, physical, and sometimes financial level. This is the only behavior of those we’ve discussed that is always destructive. So whether you’re dealing with an alcoholic, drug addict, a family member deep in debt, or a pleasant coworker who is undeniably incompetent, allow the anger (as a messenger only), set and enforce reasonable and fair boundaries, add an healthy dose of compassion, and eliminate enabling completely. And in doing so, you can have healthy, happy, respectful, and mutually satisfying relationships for a lifetime.

Love is caring more about the other person’s well-being than your own discomfort. Sometimes love means saying “no”.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

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