Posts Tagged ‘conflictresolution’

WHEN TO FIGHT AND WHEN TO NOT

I’m not much of a fighter. When I was a child, my dad taught me that if someone hits you, hit them back but never be the one to throw the first punch. In essence, only fight back when you have to defend yourself. My mom’s message was taken from Luke 6:29 and contradicted Dad’s: “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.” Her voice resonated the strongest with me and for the better part of my life I’d walk away from any confrontation whether physical or verbal. During my childhood, there was a girl who frequently bullied me. I continually walked away from her but she was relentless. One day, I told my older sister who took up my cause. She grabbed the girl by the hair and told her to leave me alone. She never bothered me again.

With the exception of protecting myself in a domestic violence relationship, I have never engaged in physical conflict in my life. And while my typical style of confrontation was one of silence, I have since become more comfortable with engaging in disputes of a verbal nature. While I refuse to participate in an ugly or hostile discussion, I can now more easily verbally defend what I believe in.

Mankind is often quick and eager to fight. A sense of arrogance and entitlement has lessened one’s ability to be patient, has classified some as unworthy of being treated with respect and dignity, and supports the belief that the self should have what they want even at the expense of others. People also have a lower tolerance level than ever before and in many instances seek every opportunity to incite an argument or fight in an attempt to assert power and dominance over others. None of these are a spiritually valid reason for fighting.

There is a time and place for everything and one needs to know when it is best to follow my Mom’s and Luke’s advice to simply walk away and when one needs to stand up for justice as recommended in Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Keep in mind, that when I speak of fighting, I am in no way referring to physical altercations, the destruction of property, or nasty, hateful verbal assaults or threats of any kind. The key to successfully defending one’s person or position and seeking righteous justice (that is, according to Divine Law) is knowing when it’s appropriate to stand tall and when it’s best to let things be as they are. Having a proper set of communication and negotiating skills is essential as well.

Here are some guidelines:

WHEN TO FIGHT:
You are defending those incapable of protecting themselves.
The issue is serious and will not resolve itself or will escalate if not addressed.
There is severe and real harm being perpetrated against yourself or another.
The offense is in violation of God’s law; it is a moral issue.
To remain silent allows evil to prosper.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Sir Edmund Burke

WHEN TO NOT:
No one is being harmed physically, emotionally, or psychologically.
The only thing bruised is your ego.
You have a personal vendetta against the other party.
You are seeking revenge. Romans 12:19 “beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of god, for it is written, “vengeance is mine, i will repay, says the lord.”
The issue will resolve itself.
There is a serious risk that getting involved will only escalate matters.
The issue will not matter in ten years.
It’s none of my business or the other party can handle it themselves.
There is only a perception of harm, not a real and valid threat.
The issue is not one of a moral nature.

Keep in mind, that humans are known for making mountains out of molehills; for making matters appear far more serious than they are; for seeking to exert dominance over others. If any of these are your motives for getting involved in an exchange of ideas (I hesitate to use the word fight for it’s generally accepted definition of a physical altercation or an extremely heated debate) I strongly advise reassessing the situation and finding an alternative course of action. However, if you reasons are to stand up for what you truly believe is morally right, then by all means pursue your decision to address the issue.

Let me reiterate: in the beginning I stated that “for the better part of my life I’d walk away from any confrontation”. My choice of words accurately reflects my beliefs: life is consistently better when one chooses to not fight. (Did you notice that I listed twice as many reasons to not fight?) Therefore, be discreet: carefully and righteously evaluate each situation before becoming involved. Know when it is in your best interest, as well as the other party’s, to simply let things be as they are. If intervention is essential, carefully choose your attitude and approach, motives and methods for they will certainly determine the outcome and lasting effects of your efforts.

Q: The goal of the righteous is to bring a peaceful and fair resolution to each situation for all those concerned.

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EMOTIONAL /SPIRITUAL RECOVERY FROM TRAUMATIC EVENTS

Life can change in a heartbeat. A few weeks ago, a family was stopped at a red light and rear-ended by a drunk driver. Their 10-year old son, Matthew, suffered a severe head trauma and is in a medically induced coma. The prognosis is not good and the family struggles to make sense of what was an act of sheer reckless endangerment. While hopefully many of us will never experience a trauma of this magnitude, we will all face some type of serious emotionally shock that we need to deal with. In some instances, the ordeal can be so severe as to dramatically alter who we are and the course of our lives. One’s life becomes unrecognizable in an instant. Even in those circumstances when we are given time to prepare for the inevitable, such as the death of a loved one suffering with Alzheimer’s or MS, the loss can be significant. In any event, one experiences a wide range of emotions that need to be addressed and healed in order that the individual can minimize any long term damage.

Trauma is defined by the American Psychological Association as the emotional response to an extremely negative event. It can manifest physically as well as emotionally. It is absolutely vital that one acknowledges their feelings rather than deny them. Every feeling has purpose and value and denial of such in no way dissipates them. They reside within causing unimaginable issues on multiple levels until identified and treated, much like termites on wood.

All emotions are the direct result of our thought process. What I think, my internal voice – the words I say to myself – dictates how I feel. Therefore, I choose my feelings. In any given moment, I can change how I feel by changing what I’m thinking. What makes trauma so challenging from our day-to-day emotional state of mind is that we continually replay the powerful event in our minds giving it energy to grow larger and more powerful. An understandable obsession that continually reinforces the horrific event we just experienced keeps it alive in our minds long after it has ceased. There are also neurological changes that occur in the brain after trauma as well.*

Common Emotional Reactions and Spiritual Solutions

Shock occurs when an event is so sudden or unexpected that we experience an extreme state of disbelief. Oftentimes, our belief system has conditioned us that such a terrifying act could not possibly happen to us. We believe we are immune to such a severe type of crisis. Initially, the shock can be so acute as to cause one to shut down emotionally, experiencing a sense of numbness and stoicism.
Slow, deliberate deep breathing enables oxygen to travel to the brain providing much needed nutrients that maintain mental clarity and stimulate our logical thought process. Realizing that no one is immune to tragedy and that God continually provides every resource needed to navigate this dark path gives us hope and strength to continue. That same faith in our loving Father reminds us that on the other side of tragedy is triumph as God heals our pain and restores inner peace and even joy.

Confusion: lacking clarity and direction. When one’s brain succumbs to emotional overload, it can be difficult to think clearly and make rational decisions.
Enlisting the aid of others willing to share their knowledge about what transpired can help you better understand what occurred. Expressing your hopes about what you want to do next and your longer term goals gives others the opportunity to guide you in the right direction and offer valuable resources to assist you. Breaking things down into smaller segments helps make the process more manageable and alleviates anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed.

Denial: one’s unwillingness or inability to accept the reality of what transpired. Extreme disbelief deceives us into believing that there was a horrible mistake or that this is simply a bad dream from which we will awake. Fueled by fear, it keeps us trapped in an alternative reality.
Both logic and faith are the team mates that will help to bring us to victory over the inevitable. With the assistance of facts and the input of those we trust, we can face the truth about said event.”The truth shall set you free” is more than a catchy cliché. It is a powerful belief that reminds us that only when we deal with reality are we really able to take back our lives and move forward. Remember that God has already prepared us to face every challenge that enters our life and with each one our lives are enriched.

Sadness results when life does not cooperate with our plans. We experience disappointment and a sense of loss. One’s marriage was supposed to last forever yet somehow ended in divorce; homelessness is for those in underprivileged neighborhoods, not for the college educated. Sadness is a powerful emotion that robs us of the joy and motivation necessary to fully embrace life.
Prayer, our conversation with God, is a great tool to remove sadness and restore joy. Reminding ourselves of all that God continually blesses us with each day, what still remains in our lives to be grateful for, is the perfect antidote to sadness. One cannot be sad and grateful simultaneously.

Anger is derived from feelings of helplessness or powerlessness and is an outward expression of intense vulnerability and weakness. Extreme anger leads to rage. One experiences anger when their expectations are not forthcoming.
Everything external is beyond my control. I have no authority over anything outside of myself and my thought process. Realizing that life is not intended to conform to my demands and by putting my faith in the One who created and loves me beyond measure, I can relax and allow life to unfold organically. I understand that whatever enters my life has a higher purpose and is meant for my spiritual evolution. I can refocus my energies on how I allow my new circumstances to affect me, strengthen me ,and enrich my life.

Regret: one feels remorseful over what they failed to do or what was done improperly. An intense desire to relive the situation so that one can craft a more desirable outcome is not uncommon.
Recognizing that every experience, good, bad or indifferent, is a necessary part of one’s emotional and spiritual journey brings great comfort. Additionally, choosing to learn from the experience and share that knowledge with others so they may learn as well, adds immense value to a tragedy. Vowing to refrain from repeating the same unfortunate choices builds confidence that future traumas can be averted.

Fear is the antithesis of faith. We worry that the event will reoccur or that we may not survive what we just witnessed. Anxiety also arises from our concerns that we and/or others may not be fine with their new circumstances. Extreme fear can result in panic attacks, creating an immobility that prevents the individual from moving beyond the incident.
On a practical level, one can rely on their inner strength and attitude to overcome fear. Building on prior experiences of overcoming hardships helps to strengthen one’s self-confidence. However, faith in God, trusting in the promises of the Lord, is the true path to overcoming fear. When one truly knows that God would never allow anything to enter our lives that we were ill-prepared to handle, and handle well. His perfect love for us would shield us from that experience if necessary. Therefore, I need not fear the here-and-now nor the future for the same loving God is ever present.

Blame is a self-defeating behavior directed at the one we believe to be rightfully responsible or it can be wrongfully aimed on the self. People may hold themselves accountable for something they had no control over. For example: a parent whose child is diagnosed with a severe disease may feel as though there was something defective within them that they inadvertently passed along to their child, causing their child to become ill. Some blame God. However, our loving Father cannot cause bad things to happen as this violates His very nature. He gave us free will, intellect and choice. Events of the human genre are caused by man’s own actions.
Blame involves judgment which is a defeating action as it devalues the individual. Taking ownership for one’s mistakes while being compassionate of mankind’s imperfections removes shame, self-loathing, and misdirected anger. Forgiveness for their misguided actions and for their weaknesses allows us to move beyond anger and blame and restore the peace God intended for us.

Revenge often follows blame (of others). There is a natural human need to seek justice on those who perpetrated the offense against us. However, vengeance never produces justice as it cannot right a wrong or undo what has happened. One is still left with the residual effects of the event and a healing must still occur. Revenge is often thought of as a learning tool for the offending party as well as a deterrent from committing the atrocity again. However, neither has ever proven effective and only perpetuates suffering onto another.
Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. This in no way implies that God will punish those who committed the offense. On the contrary: Divine Love seeks to teach and heal and that is what God seeks for all His misguided children. Prayer is a powerful deterrent to revenge. Pleading for mercy for the offender heals the one making the request.

Guilt is not an uncommon reaction to a traumatic event particularly when others have suffered more than you, been severely injured or lost their lives. Survivors guilt is a common occurrence when others have passed away.
Understanding that you were in no way responsible for the event occurring, nor could you have prevented it is a good beginning. Many survivors find great comfort in realizing that God has a special plan for them. Realizing this and fulfilling His Will can be very comforting and alleviate residual guilt. It is also important to remember that even for those who have been injured, their experience is just as much a necessary part of their life’s journey as your suffering is for you. This in no way minimizes it but simply helps one to find some sense of peace, though rarely in its entirety. As for death, many view it as an end or a punishment. It is neither. Death is a transition from the temporal physical world back to the existence of eternal spirit which is our ultimate goal. One can find great comfort in knowing the other party has achieved a state of permanent salvation.

Never allow your life or who you become to be defined by your trauma. You are not your ordeal. It was a life experience that has a higher purpose. Your knowledge of and reliance on God will enable you to better navigate your way through a devastating event to a more empowered and meaningful life.

Acceptance of what is or what must be for our higher spiritual awareness allows us to find peace in our new circumstance.

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*https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2015/09/16/the-science-behind-ptsd-symptoms-how-trauma-changes-the-brain/

LAUGH AWAY ANGER

People take life far too seriously. There are important issues in our world such as child abuse, war, poverty, starvation, disease, etc. These are all matters critical for the well-being of humanity. Each one needs to be addressed and resolved quickly in order to protect mankind and eliminate unnecessary suffering. But we give too much credence to incidences of little value and in turn cause ourselves grief and heartache. Add to that the unnecessary anger we experience and it’s no wonder we’re all so miserable.

Elbert Hubbard: “Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out of it alive.”

Laughter is a powerful tool that possesses many valuable qualities and serves multiple purposes. On a physical level, it strengthens the body’s natural immune system, reduces stress hormones, improves cardiovascular health, reduces pain, relaxes muscles, and much more. On a personal level, it brings people together, boosts moral, alleviates depression and stress, minimizes negative conflict, puts people at ease by reducing tension between them or in a particular situation, and increases our overall enjoyment of life. It also alleviates fear and anxiety, energizes us and makes us feel more alive; it puts us in a more positive optimistic mood, encourages resiliency, and intercepts, minimizes, and even heals anger. On every level, it’s an attribute worth utilizing in all aspects of our lives.

Dr. Bernie Siegel: “The simple truth is that happy people generally don’t get sick.”

But how do you use laughter to thwart anger? First and foremost, it’s critical to train ourselves to not take things so seriously. If someone comments that your homemade cupcakes are dry, rather than take personal offense, which leads to hurt feelings and anger, one can choose to respond with humor. “It’s my secret ingredient – sand.” Everyone can have a good laugh rather than becoming angry, putting people on the defensive, or escalating a simple comment into an argument.
Taking the proper steps necessary to be physically healthy, such as exercising, eating well, getting enough sleep, etc. is critical to warding off disease. So is developing a “laughable lifestyle” necessary to protect us against the perils of anger. Here are some suggestions.

The Laughable Lifestyle:
Look for humor in every situation. ~ Associate with funny, playful people including children.
Watch funny videos, TV shows, movies. ~ Go to a comedy club.
Read the comics in the newspaper. ~ Learn some good jokes and tell them to your family, friends, and coworkers.
Share a funny story with others. ~ Read funny greeting cards in your local Hallmark store.
Attend a laughter yoga class. ~ Be silly with your kids/grandchildren.
Do anything and everything silly: wear a funny hat when you go out to dinner; sing and/or dance while food shopping; skip instead of walk.
Engage in fun activities (bowling, miniature golf, etc) and make them funny.
Make some silly memories now! Those inane moments are the treasures that bring us joy as we age. They become some of our fondest memories and will naturally stir up laughter when recalled.

Look at the Lighter Side:

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Too often, we beat ourselves up for making poor decisions or not being good enough. We are hyper-critical of ourselves whereas we might be more understanding and compassionate towards others. Whenever we create a blunder, unless it causes serious duress to another, make light of it. Laugh at yourself!
When I moved into my current house, I chose an interesting color scheme for the living/dining room. My husband suggested I paint a small area first to determine if in fact I’d like it. But I was so confident that I painted both rooms in their entirety only to discover I was not happy with my color choice. Not only did I make this error once, I repainted nine times in one month before settling on a basic beige. Rather than be embarrassed or berate myself, I made sure to tell everyone my hilarious story of indecision. I embellished it each time I related it to someone new. Twenty years later, I still get teased and twenty years later we’re all still laughing about it. We’ve gotten a lot of laughter mileage out of that one incident.
Say or do things in a humorous way. Whenever possible, use exaggerated movements, funny facial expressions, a silly tone of voice. Embellishing any situation adds an new dimension of wit.*

Don’t take others seriously, either. When others make mistakes or behave in a manner unbefitting them, laugh it off.
A driver made an illegal left-hand turn at an intersection, cutting me off and nearly causing an accident. When I honked my horn to show him the “no left turn” sign, he went ballistic. Flailing his arms like someone swatting bees and ranting hysterically, I found myself amused at what a fool he was making of himself. Surprisingly , rather than become annoyed at his childish behaviors, I began laughing at his idiocy. “He can’t be serious,” I remember thinking to myself.
Be warned that you must be sensitive in this area. Never make fun of the person but instead joke about the incident if it allows for it. Be certain that you know the individual well enough to interject humor into the equation. Be very cautious when proceeding because this could backfire if you are inconsiderate of the other person’s feelings and situation. And keep in mind that sarcasm is not humor – it’s passive aggressive anger and is never appropriate to use against another human being.

Look for the humor in a dark situation. With very few exceptions, one can find humor even in the saddest, loneliest, or scariest times. A cancer patient, after losing her hair from radiation treatments, quipped that she was grateful that she didn’t have to dye her hair any longer. “It was such a pain!” she joked, “and expensive!” Unless it is a moral issue or one of life or death, most distress can be alleviated with a joke or two.
When our basement flooded years ago, my husband and I spent a total of fourteen consecutive hours siphoning up water. He moaned and complained the entire time. I got a rubber duck out of my closet, placed it in the four inches of water that covered the floor, and while I vacuumed up the water with my shop vac, I sang the rubber ducky song from Sesame Street. I took a difficult situation and brought humor into it. The task was far less aggravating for me than it was for my husband.
I recently had company for dinner. While making homemade biscuits, I forgot to add baking powder. Needless to say, they did not rise and were hard as a rock. My son-in-law commented that they looked like hockey pucks. The next day, I called him to say that I put them outside for the squirrels to eat but even they found them distasteful. They were, however, having a ball playing hockey.

Groucho Marx: “A clown is like aspirin only he works twice as fast.”
“If you can find humor in anything, you can survive it.” Bill Cosby

Surround yourself with reminders to laugh. Cut out cartoon strips or funny photos and place them on your refrigerator door, your desk, the bathroom mirror, etc., anywhere that they will remind you to find humor today.
Wear a clown costume while you’re mowing the lawn; spray paint your hair two different colors before visiting your mom; put smiley face stickers all over your shirt before going to work.
The more you seek humor the more you’ll find it; the more you pursue laughter the less you’ll focus on anger.

Have a laughing buddy. Like joy, humor shared is humor multiplied. Sharing laughter with others keeps relationships healthy and uplifted. It acts as a bonding agent that brings people together (unlike anger which causes a division). Relationships become more playful, vital, and supportive. It heals resentments, disagreements, and hurts, puts things into their proper perspective, and unites people in difficult times. Like chicken pox (only in a good way) laughter is contagious and when you share a good chuckle with another person, it magnifies your own joy as well.
Laughter at funerals used to be frowned upon but when my mother-in-law recently passed away, everyone was asked to wear crazy socks and ties. We all shared funny stories about Mary that soothed the loss and brought her family together. It was definitely what she would have wanted.
One of my favorite pass times is listening to my girls giggling with their cousins. Even though they’re all in their forties, they still laugh as they did when they were single digit ages. Their laughter is infectious and soon everyone within earshot is chuckling as well.
Don’t have a laughing buddy readily available? Pull up a video on Youtube of babies laughing. I guarantee it will activate your funny bone.

A smile is the beginning of laughter. So initially, you may want to begin with being conscious of your smile. Use is often; display it every place you go; share it with everyone you encounter. Make it the most important accessory you wear each day. It’s more significant than your makeup, hair style and color or wardrobe.

We are naturally drawn to laughter. It is our birthright and makes us feel good. And since you can only experience one emotion at a time, choose humor. It will prevent anger from arising and keep you healthy and beautiful at the same time. And it’s free. Doesn’t get any better than that.

Q** Will Rogers: “When I die I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did – not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.”
Rodney Dangerfield: “My psychiatrist told me I was crazy. I said I wanted a second opinion. He said, Ok. You’re ugly too.”
A.A. Milne “People say nothing is impossible but I do nothing every day.”
Walter Matthau: “My doctor gave me 6 months to live but when I couldn’t pay the bill he gave me 6 months more.”
Rita Rudner: “I love being married. It’s great to find that one special person you can annoy for the rest of your life.”
George Burns: “I’m so old that when I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick.”
Charles Lamb: “I always arrive late at the office but I make up for it by leaving early.”
Mitch Hedberg: “I wish my name was Brian. This way when people misspell it and call me Brain, it’s like getting a free compliment and I don’t even have to be smart to notice it.”

*See comedian Sebastian Maniscalco: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-mozilla-004&hsimp=yhs004&hspart=mozilla&p=sebastian+maniscalco#id=1&vid=c8c50ba0daa711f73c07e0b6571fb0d7&action=click
**www.AZQuotes.com
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
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+