Posts Tagged ‘conflictmanagement’

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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ANGRY? GET OVER IT!

Today my husband and I had our fifth fight. Not bad for a twenty year marriage but regardless, for an anger management professional such as myself, I didn’t handle it very well. Actually, fight is not an accurate description as it was more like a huff, that is we got annoyed at each other. Let me explain: I asked Mac to show me how to use the power washer so that I could prep the tool shed to be painted. I had mentioned several times that this was a priority chore for me this year. The day prior, I told him that I wanted to get started this weekend. So this morning, I requested that he show me how to use the machine to which he become annoyed. “It hasn’t been used in three years,” he snapped. “I don’t even know if it works!” I made a critical mistake by taking personal offense to the way he spoke to me and responded with my own anger. “You and I are never on the same page! I try to do as much heavy work around here to make it easier on you. And you can’t even make sure the tools I need are working properly. I’m done!” I stated emphatically. “You can do it yourself!” With that, I turned and walked out of the room. He got in his car and drove off in a bad mood.

Mac in no way deserved to be on the receiving end of my ire. For certain, an apology was in order. I’ve never been one to hold a grudge so I can let go of my own anger quickly. But I also needed to do some immediate damage control as well. While he was gone, I reassessed the situation. What was really going on? Both of us are under constant pressure from our jobs, taking care of our home, dogs, and family. Stress lessens one’s ability to be patient and rational. Relatively insignificant issues can be blown out of proportion and simple requests can be seen as being demanding, threatening, offensive, or irrational. Under less stressful conditions, neither of us would have responded with such disrespect towards each other. Having said that, we both feel added pressure on the weekends to accomplish an abnormal number of chores, denying ourselves any respite from our demanding workday responsibilities.

Anger is the outward expression of either hurt, fear, or frustration (the three root causes). For certain, I was feeling frustrated. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on my “to do” list and I feel as though I (and my husband) keep falling further and further behind. Secondly, I allowed myself to be hurt by his (mildly) rude behavior which in truth had absolutely nothing at all to do with me. I fully understand that he was merely expressing his frustration as well. Upon closer examination, there were also elements of fear that surfaced. I’m concerned (a mild form of fear) that we will not have all of the larger tasks completed on our home once we are ready to sell it.

So how did I get over my anger? By considering the following 10 questions:

1. Did this situation warrant my anger or was I over reacting? In this case, I completely over reacted. This issue was relatively minor and I was reacting to my own frustration rather than my husband’s response.
2. Was I being fair and reasonable to my husband? Absolutely not! It was highly insensitive of me to think that he should immediately take action on my request. Initially I thought I had given him enough forewarning but in retrospect I realized that based on his personality, I had not.
3. Were my expectations of him, his needs, and his reaction realistic? Again, absolutely no. I know him well enough to know that he needs time to process and plan anything I request of him. He has his own day scheduled and when I interfere with that he feels pressured and minimized (that my needs take precedent over his).
4. Was the intensity and duration of my anger justified for this specific incident? Intensity? No. Duration? I’ll give myself a pass on that since it literally lasted less than five minutes. But again, the issue at hand was not a matter of great urgency as proven by the fact that I had plenty of other work to occupy my time. And I will eventually get the shed taken care of.
5. Did I fail to see his perspective and consider it equally as valid as my own? In the heat of the moment, yes, I failed to recognize where he was coming from and respect his position as much as my own.
6. What needs of mine were not being met? (Unmet needs will trigger anger.) I needed his help and reassurance that he would take care of his responsibility in a reasonable period of time (which at that moment, for me, was immediately).My fear was that I was being blown off and what I wanted to do was not important to him and would be put at the bottom of his “to do” list, thereby possibly never getting done.
7. What needs of his did I fail to provide? He definitely needs his space on the weekend to take care of his personal errands and chores without interference or pressure from me. He also needs to be asked questions (“Is there a chance we could get to this today?”) rather than demanded (“I need you to get the power washer working now.”), regardless of how polite I think I am being.
8. How can each of our needs be fulfilled? What is my role in doing so? I need to be more sensitive to what matters to him. By giving him enough notice and asking if he is able to assist me (I tend to take it for granted since he’s so talented), I can alleviate putting any unnecessary pressure on him. I can also reach out to others for assistance when necessary or for instructions so that I may rely more on my own abilities. If possible, there is always the option of hiring someone to do what we don’t have time to do on our own.
9. If changes are not immediately forthcoming, can I accept that the situation will remain status quo for now? Can I find some sort of internal resolution with my circumstances? Of course. I am actually quite good at doing so and have in many situations before. If the situation is temporary, I can call upon my patience to get me through while keeping myself occupied with other important projects.
10. If the situation is permanent, can I find internal resolution as well? Absolutely! Much in my life has not complied with my preferences and I have been perfectly fine. Understanding that life is not always meant to follow my dictates and that there are important lessons to be learned in such circumstances enables me to grow on many levels, put the event into its proper perspective, and ultimately be at peace with my current situation.

While it may seem that this technique took a significant amount of time to process and resolve, in truth it took a matter of minutes for me to re examine what transpired and let go of being angry. I felt a sense of remorse for the way I treated my husband and immediately reached out to offer him the apology he rightfully deserved. For him, an expression of remorse enables him to more easily heal his own anger, forgive me, and allow us to move back into a place of being happy and loving towards one another. It was well worth the investment of a little time and effort.

Note: for those of you who are questioning, “What about his role in all of this?”, my response is this: it’s none of my business. I need only concern myself with my own issues and actions. That is where my personal power lies and where true change occurs. What he does is irrelevant. All that really matters is how I handle myself.

“Unresolved anger leads to bitterness, resentment, self-pity and misery. Letting it go invites joy and peace to enter your heart again.”

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

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
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