Posts Tagged ‘conflictresolution’

WHAT TO DO WHEN CONFLICT RESOLUTION FAILS

Wouldn’t life be wonderful if every time we disagreed with someone we could find a perfect solution that would satisfy each party and put the issue to rest once and for all? So often when a conflict arises, we spend an enormous amount of time and energy debating it, trying to prove our position, pointing out to the other person how and why their stance is wrong, and trying earnestly to convince them to see things and do things our way. In the event that we are unsuccessful, we may resort to simply imposing our way on them by demanding that things be done our way, or threatening that if we don’t get what we’re seeking there will be serious consequences for their non-compliance. If they refuse to conform and we are left without the resolution we were seeking, it’s easy to become engulfed in fear (that we will not be ok with our current set of circumstances), anger (that we did not get what we were seeking), bitterness (that their way prevailed over ours), and resentment (that we are being forced to accept something we are not happy with). Any and all of these emotions will poison our lives and prohibit us from experiencing happiness and success. Additionally, if suppressed or prolonged, they can impact our physical health, our emotional well-being, and our relationships. But even the most skilled debaters sometimes find themselves in a situation where there is simply no meeting of the minds. What can one do under these circumstances?

Conflict is simply the presence of a disagreement. It is actually a normal and healthy part of every relationship. On so many levels it adds depth and challenges that encourage personal and relationship growth. It only becomes problematic when hostility is introduced and stubbornness prevails. In the event one finds themselves in a stalemate, there is still a viable solution. And that is to resolve the conflict within yourself.

Real conflict is internal. It is fueled by the need to gain control over another person or situation; to force our beliefs and ways on others; to impose our authority on the other person; to maintain our appearance in the presence of our peers; to create a sense of superiority over others; to “win” or emerge victorious. Actual resolution has little to do with the specific matter in dispute and more with the need to satisfy one’s ego. Ego always needs to feel important, superior, and to establish dominance over the other. Ego is fueled by fear, the need to protect one’s self from a perceived harm or injustice. Let go of the fear, knowing you will be fine regardless of the outcome, and one can easily compromise or fully acquiesce without anxiety, anger or resentment.

It is critically important to ask yourself, “Why is this situation a problem for me? What within me needs to be resolved or healed in order for this not to bother me? How can I find a way to live comfortably with my new set of circumstances?” These are critical questions that will give you greater insight into yourself, your attitude, issues, and beliefs. Once identified and healed, the situation at hand is no longer a problem and can either be easily rectified or allowed to remain as is.

Ultimately the only way to fully resolve any conflict, especially those in which a situation remains status quo or devolves into something less than what we hoped for, is to find peace with it within ourselves. We can do this by realizing that in life, not everything progresses the way we had desired nor should it. To receive everything we expect out of life is akin to fulfilling a young child’s every whim. They do not learn how to accept that which they cannot or should not change, thus missing out on a critical life lesson of acceptance. They also fail to learn how to compromise or acquiesce to another so that the other party may feel satisfied. In doing so, one moves beyond selfishness to a place of generosity and concern for the other person. From a practical as well as spiritual perspective, this allows for enormous personal and spiritual growth and pride in one’s self. One also has the opportunity to learn resiliency and how to bounce back from any disappointment.

It is also critical to find the value in the experience, find something positive that can enrich your life. Wanting to splurge on an expensive vacation to Paris but consenting to my husband’s wish to visit his parents in Nevada for vacation can prove to be a worthwhile experience for me. Spending time with the in-laws gives them the opportunity to spend time with a son they love. It also affords me the opportunity to show them that I truly care about them and my husband and can ultimately strengthen our relationship as well as that with my spouse. And experiencing the beauty of Nevada can be an educational and glorious adventure. Where there is value there is no room for hostility.

Building the confidence that emerges from facing life’s unknowns is another benefit of unresolved conflicts. One discovers that regardless of what life hands you, you are fully qualified to not only survive your new found circumstances but to thrive and grow in them as well. Making the necessary accommodations enables one to challenge themselves to learn (acceptance and appreciation for what they had but no longer have or for what still remains or for what is new and potentially beneficial), as well as developing creative ways to so. Not having what they had hoped for also provides an opportunity to put everything into perspective. That which we thought to be so critically important sometimes is seen as less valuable when it is no longer an option for us.

Patience and determination are other valuable lessons we are being afforded when a dispute does not resolve as we had hoped. Perhaps this is not the right time for a resolution and we need to wait a bit longer before our circumstances change; maybe we are meant to try a new approach or to continue along the same path with greater focus and energy. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of time and perseverance that ultimately brings about the preferred results. One who does not receive a much needed and desired promotion at work can vow to use this as motivation to work harder, to stand out among their coworkers and get noticed by those in charge, or perhaps to branch out in another direction or even seek a new career.

Again, once an experience proves to be advantageous to you, it is difficult to remain at odds with the other party or to continue to argue over the situation. Letting things just be what they are or need to be at that moment is incredibly freeing. One need not expend precious time and energy on that which has relatively little value and can redirect those resources to that which has greater enjoyment and reward. Therefore, put forth a good effort in trying to resolve those conflicts that are truly significant and command a solution. For those of lesser value, simply allow them to remain as they are. Then work at addressing your internal distress, finding the necessary solutions that will ultimately afford you the inner peace and stillness you so deserve. Problem solved.

Q “The ability to accept those things that we cannot or should not change allows us to live in peaceful harmony with ourselves and the world.”

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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
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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