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Zen & The Art of Diffusing Conflict January 14, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, People.
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Winning arguments is like playing chess.  Often, the best defense is a good offense.

However, life is not a chess game and we are not just players on a board.

We are living, breathing beings who need strong relationships with each other to thrive.

Practicing the art of diffusing conflict allows us to end an argument before it begins, or at least before it develops the momentum of a speeding locomotive racing down a steep incline.

We See The World Behind Our Eyes.

Your best friend has just accused you of not understanding him.

Surprised, you look up from the TV, blink in confusion, and think, “where did that come from?”

Don’t worry too much about why he threw down the gauntlet, it’s there.  The “what is, is.”  Don’t ask him to defend his position, unless you want to spend the next few hours engaged in battle, a lose-lose proposition at best.

Don’t go on the offensive:  “No one  understands you.  You’re insane!”

Accept his point of view.  He’s expressing an opinion.  Acknowledge it.

“You know, from your perspective, I can see why you would say that.”

Each of us experiences life uniquely.  Your efforts to understand his truth, no matter how sincere, are only that ~ they are not the truth.

Once his concerns have been heard, he may realize you understand him better than he thought.

Conflict Is Inevitable, Arguments Are Optional.

170px-PuckCoverYour wife has just stormed out of the bathroom holding an empty roll of toilet paper in her hands, screaming obscenities that would make a drunken sailor blush.

Hands on hips, she stands defiantly between you and the television screen, and slowly, with emphasis, demands that you explain, once and for all, why you have such a hard time remembering to change the roll of toilet paper when you are  ALWAYS the last one to finish the roll due to your proclivity for eating Ass-Bangin’ Chili every GD night of the week!

Before you reach for the volume control in a futile (and perhaps fatal) effort to drown her out, try the following:

Don’t worry about why she is so enraged ~ after a day full of frustrations, you are just the proverbial straw on an already overloaded camel.

Don’t ask her to substantiate her claims (unless you can prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you are innocent of the alleged offense).

If  you have a surveillance video that shows that one of the kids finished the roll, and (better still) left the bathroom without washing his or her hands, by all means, share it (and some much needed laughter) with  your spouse.

Humor is a great tool for diffusing conflict.

Absent evidence of malfeasance by the kids, or that the cat dragged off the end of the roll to use in the litter box, don’t attempt to defend your position.

Now is not the time to point out the one time, six months ago, when your wife was late for a meeting with her supervisor’s supervisor, and she forgot to change the roll before rushing out of the apartment to hail a cab.

Instead, accept her point of view, “You’re got a point.  Not replacing the roll is  inconsiderate.  I’ll do better next time.”

Your calm acceptance of her concerns will prompt her to realize that finding an empty toilet paper roll is not really what’s upsetting her.

If she doesn’t reach that conclusion herself, you might gently steer her in that direction.  Gently is the key word here.  Try asking her about her day, her family,  or anything else that’s weighing her down.

As her perspective shifts, she’ll remember that you are not the enemy, you are her ally against the maddening crowd.

In many cases, the best way to avoid an argument is to listen.

Quote:  Prefer peace and happiness to being right.

No rules.  Just write!

Related posts:  Way of the Peaceful Warrior * Spiritual Milestones * Awakening To The Sacred

Who Do You Love? January 14, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, People.
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Paula raised a fascinating issue for discussion on her blog, Reflections from a Cloudy Mirror, yesterday:

With what part of a person do we fall in love? Is it the personality, the interior person? Is it the appearance, the exterior? Or is it the whole package?

If only a part of the package were to change, how drastically would that affect your relationship?

How much of our relationships are built upon what we physically see in and hear from the other, as opposed to what we know about the true essence of the other?

With whom or with what do you form your relationships?

To read the post, and join the discussion:  Another Day, Another Cloud.

No rules.  Just write!

Related posts:  Res Ipsa LoquiturWe Are Not The Labels We Wear * A Not-So-Quick Quiz:  Who Are You? * Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism