Tag Archives: Conflict

Intent of the Day: Conflict with Patience

flowers

Patience and perseverance
have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.
-John Quincy Adams

These are tough times. It is hard to know the difference between what is real and what is propaganda, what requires our full attention and what is just distracting noise, what is truth and what is the fear of what-if. So what will disarm this fear? What is the best way to combat the anger? Will we fight fire with fire and will anything be left standing after the fire storm? Today our intent is to address conflict with patience.

How do we do that? Here are 3 things to help: Continue reading

Expectations

happiness-826932_960_720Expectations: we all have them. Maybe we wake up and think it will be a good day. You were on time all morning, and just about to get to work when an obstacle arises, causing you to be late, thus ruining your momentum, perhaps even your day. We have all heard the sayings, “expect the unexpected!” and “it will happen when you least expect it!” Do we ever stop to think about what our expectations are? We certainly do.

In fact, we might do it too much. We expect to have a fun time at our friend’s party, or a mediocre time during family holidays. Sometimes, we are so focused on what we expect to happen that we miss out entirely on the events. Perhaps because we expected not to have fun, and sat in a corner sulking, trying to prove our own point. Maybe we had expectations and then were disappointed with the result because they did not fit our vision. When we put our hopes into expectations, we will usually be disappointed, because expectations are a wish, not a guarantee. The only guarantee that is true with expectations is that you cannot predict what will happen. Continue reading

15 Things Emotionally Fit People Practice

tiles

 

Do you know an emotionally fit person? Emotionally fit people are often viewed as the “go to” person, a leader, someone others can depend upon. They can handle challenging situations with inner strength, wisdom and insight. They are well respected by others and can appropriately handle conflict. Are you emotionally fit?

15 Things The Emotionally Fit Person Practices: Continue reading

When to Know if Conflict Is Toxic

gloves

By Doug Noll

Unless you are living in an isolated cave, social conflict is inevitable. Our needs, interests, and desires collide with each other, getting in the way of our happiness. Conflict is not inherently bad, however. We need conflict to teach us, entertain us, and help us grow. We can probably do without Jerry Springer’s craziness, but a certain amount of conflict is healthy. On the other hand, we have also experience unhealthy conflict. When the conflict becomes chronic and repetitive, it is toxic.

Worse, emerging research shows that toxic conflict kills just as surely as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. Recent studies reveal that frequent arguments with partners, relatives, friends or neighbors are associated with a doubling to tripling in the risk of death from any cause. We are social beings and toxic conflict apparently creates stressors that shorten our lives.

Knowing the difference between healthy, good conflict and unhealthy, toxic conflict is important information.

Here are some signs that indicate toxic conflict: Continue reading

Thanksgiving Is The Optimum Time To De-Stress

StressMany mental health experts write that Thanksgiving can be a stressful holiday.  However, I am happy to be the bearer of good tidings: Thanksgiving provides a terrific opportunity to manage stress and in fact, set the tone for the rest of the season: A reasonable happiness with realistic expectations. This is a holiday where simplifying, getting back to basics, is the theme.

Did you know that it is an urban myth perpetuated by the media that there is more family conflict during the holidays? In fact, increased family gatherings and community support during the holidays create greater cohesion and bolster the spirit. Consider that most of us are on our best behavior during family gatherings!

And if you are living a life of quiet desperation, you don’t have to accomplish the impossible which is to forget your loss and your grief in order to be happy. On the contrary the more you try to forget, the more your brain focuses on what you are trying to forget. Instead you have to complete your loss and grief by looking at it and taking charge of what you see.  On Thanksgiving, when you are supposed to feel grateful, go the opposite route and shine the light on what’s missing. This could mean forgiveness, integration of positive values, shedding the toxic parts and having your say to the person or disease – alive or dead. Turn the loss into triumph by strengthening your spirit and making yourself kinder and more compassionate. For example, if you have lost the love of your life become the love of your life.

The Thanksgiving Menu for Stress Management:

  • Taking a break from our problems and sadness to experience a fresh perspective that “earth is crammed with heaven” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
  • Writing a gratitude list is a powerful stress management strategy. And here you have an entire holiday celebrating gratitude, reminding us to re-appreciate all the things we used to appreciate.
  • A chance to reconnect with others, forgiving those we have argued with or excluded from our circle with no explanation necessary, after all, it’s in the spirit of the holiday
  • A quality meal based on protein and relaxing tryptophan – a turkey – promoting natural drowsy relaxation, a signal to slow down
  • A tasting menu which delights the senses and blesses and honors food instead of making food the enemy
  • A meal which is participatory, a team effort of pitching in and sharing a signature dish – delegating as opposed to depleting
  • Exercising outdoors like a brisk walk after eating, or a family football game to balance the fullness of the meal and reset natural rhythms
  • Volunteering to serve others or donating to those who are less fortunate or  on the flip side gratefully receiving help and donations, so that others can feel blessed when giving
  • To recall the dearly departed  with stories, quotes and memories, bringing them back to life
  • And if you can’t celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday due to work or complex family dynamics, there is always Sunday to make your own version!
photo by: Alan Cleaver

Are You Willing To Change Your Perspective?

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 5.08.10 PMYou have been arguing with your mother for years about how she treated you when you were younger. It has allowed for a marginal relationship at best. Are you willing to see you and your mother differently?

You think your boss is a real jerk. He doesn’t communicate clearly or effectively and that bugs you. You feel he is cheap with the compliments about your work and has never seemed to make an effort to have a sound professional relationship with you. Are you willing to see him differently?

We can’t change people. We can, however, change how we feel about them and how we respond to them. We can, if we are willing to see things differently, change how our days and relationships unfold. We just have to see it, want it and choose it.

Most of today’s conflicts happen out of yesterday’s events. We are pros at bringing the past into our present. We allow memories and experiences to keep us small, upset and justifying why it is right to fear, hate or insult. Stories and perspectives from others color our views and opinions so we think things like rich people are selfish, poor people are lazy, Muslims are terrorists, gay couples are trying to upset traditional marriage, nerdy kids are un-popular (or fill in your favorite bias or judgment).

Things improve only when we are willing – when we intentionally choose – to change. Are you willing to see your world differently? Are you willing to stop bringing the story of your biases and judgments that came from your past into your present?

This is important for two reasons:

  1. You could change you. In this judgmental place, we step out of our greatness; we keep ourselves small, petty and critical. In our judgments, we live in a constant state of disappointment, frustration and hurt. Seeing things differently could change this. Most of today’s misery comes from how we allow ourselves to see the world and others, rather than how they really are. We let our stories of who we think they are influence how we relate to them and how we approach our world. You could change this.
  2. You could change your world. The world is built by those who are right here, right now. If we all are willing to get past our stories, biases, and judgments and learn to focus on what is great in each of us, we could transform our world.

We frequently run on autopilot – allowing our responses to drive us instead of driving our responses. By being more present in each moment, we give ourselves greater awareness and control over our emotions, thoughts and therefore our choices. We choose our responses instead of letting them choose us. In that one moment we have the ability to determine if we are willing to see people differently – to see their greatness instead of their failures. We can then see that they are human and are not intended to be perfect – only who they really are.

We have a long history or not allowing ourselves to see things differently – change is hard. Our brain loves routine, the status quo and patterns. It feels safe when it knows what is coming next. This even includes the hurtful and painful things in life. See a battered wife defend her husband or an abused child cling to his or her abusing parent.

What would have to happen for us to want to see things differently – to see from our hearts instead of our heads – to focus on love instead of fear or anger? Because if today’s world isn’t at a place to compel us to change how we see ourselves and others, then I am concerned on what it may take to actually inspire us to make this change.

So back to our relationships. Are we willing to see them differently – as more honest, more intimate, more caring, more loving, more present, more faithful and more forgiving?

Back to our work. Are we willing to see it differently – as more effective, more efficient, more present and more interested?

Back to our lives. Are we willing to see them differently – as more valuable, more significant, more precious, more compassionate and more present?

We choose how we show up to the events of our life; choice is our greatest gift. Since things are our choice, are we willing to choose to see things differently – better, wiser, kinder, more loving – greater? That is the key to building a most amazing world. You have a part. So do I. I am in. How about you?

Focus On Love And Let Go Of The Rest

shutterstock_34411321I have friends who have been mad at their ex-spouses for more than 15 years. I have coaching clients who are still fighting with their siblings about something said when they were kids. I see people lose their cool when someone ahead of them in line takes too long. I see people cut each other off in parking lots and in line at the grocery store. It doesn’t have to be this way. Focus on love and let go of the rest.

I want to be really practical about this. I know that we should all just focus on love but in our world, how do we do this, and if we do, will we get pushed to the side?

The reason to focus on a loving response is that it is critical to developing a great and happy life. Though a great life can also mean finding our fit and living our passions and purpose, it really refers to how we show up to each of the moments of our lives. In each moment we have the choice to love, fear or fight.

To choose love, opens our hearts, which amplifies our internal energy. We see more, feel more and connect more. We bring in greater events and people into our lives. We are intrinsically happy which inspires greater happiness and opportunities. It is an upward cycle.

To choose fear or anger means we close our hearts. We find fault, complain, fight, feel like a victim and invite suffering. Closing our heart shuts down our internal energy. Life feels like a struggle; events take more effort and few seem satisfying.

The amazing thing about love, fear or anger is that we choose which emotion shows up. The events in our lives are neutral – we assign them a love or fear emotion. Good and bad things happen – we choose how we respond. We can celebrate the good and learn from the bad – both in a state of an open and loving heart. We can get stuck in a line and find a way to be happy. We can go through a painful divorce or break up and still have an open and loving heart.

We make mistakes as humans – it comes with the territory. These mistakes are for us to learn from and we learn more and faster when our heart is open and loving than when it is closed, afraid and angry. We get though our pain faster, rebuild faster and move on faster when we stay open and loving. And the opposite is true. The process is more painful and longer when we close our hearts and focus on fear or anger.

To live a great and happy life requires we see the joy and love in all of life – not just the good times. Learn from those who are intrinsically happy. Talk to them about what their lives are like and you will see that they have not been spared from hurt, tragedy, pain and disappointment. The only difference is they don’t stop loving when it happens. They open up and commit to all that comes with life.

Do I do this? I really try. Some days I do well, others not so well. And there are still some people in my life that bring up painful memories and living with an open heart and loving is more difficult. But I see it. I am present to it. And in that moment I can limit the closed heart by intentionally changing it. Like everything it takes practice. But the benefits are amazing. To be in a space of loving life instead of fighting with it creates opportunities and possibilities we never imagined.

Who and what events in your life need you to focus on love and let the rest go? How will your life be better by loving instead of fearing, fighting or suffering? It’s always a choice. Choose wisely.

Are you choosing love in your life? Share your stories in the comments below!

7 Tools to Resolve Any and Every Conflict That Arises

Cat VS. DogMany of us dread conflict. We wish we could just get along.

Life, however, has other ideas for us. Everyone is here to be there true selves, have their own opinions, likes, dislikes etc. How boring things would be if we all agreed on everything all the time. Where would our creativity be needed?

The exciting thing about conflict is that it forces us to expand into a greater creative expression of ourselves. Every time I have found the courage to call someone to task and have a discussion about our conflicting opinions, good things have happened. It doesn’t mean I always get my way, but I do put myself in a position to express my opinion, speak my truth, and listen to their side. Then I have a CHOICE: find an agreement, or walk away from the relationship/situation. And, importantly, I feel good about myself, that I have made every effort to find a resolution.

If we don’t speak up, we are sitting on an energy of resentment, fear, or frustration which can lead, later on, to unconscious expressions of that same energy which will probably not have good outcomes. Conflict is not inevitable. Conflicts are created by people and people can choose to end them. This cannot happen if the parties are set on victory instead of compromise or while they prioritize self-centered interest over the highest good of everyone concerned.

When the willingness to be available for discussion exists, there is no conflict that cannot be resolved.

If conflict is rooted in an ‘us’ and ‘them’, or ‘me’ and ‘you’, approach, then peace-building is precisely the opposite. We have to get past the adversarial mind-set and involve everyone concerned in addressing the common challenges, listening to other points of view, and seeing where we can meet, with an emphasis on what we DO agree on, and not on what we don’t agree on. When the focus is on what we all want, and not on what we don’t want, there is a higher possibility of success.

Our personal histories are all, in one way or another, shaped by the legacies of conflict. But as profound and deep-rooted as our differences may be, it is in our power to redefine those legacies, and, in so doing, redefine ourselves. Wherever we live in the world, we must recognize that ‘peace’ is not something you can win; it is something that has to be built and shared.

Here are 7 suggestions for conflict resolution:

1. Start with the points you all agree on. This sets a positive foundation of agreement to build upon.

2. Can you all agree that the outcome you want is for the highest good of everyone concerned?

3. Are you willing, if necessary, to set aside your personal interests for the highest good of everyone concerned?

4. Can you allow yourself to admit you are wrong? And/or admit that you hadn’t seen the situation from the other person’s point of view?

5. Are you speaking from wisdom or from self-centered ego?

6. Do you want to be right, or be happy?

7. Before starting a conflict resolution do one of the following meditations, either alone or with the other people, to release tensions and emotional charge, and to help bring your wisest self to the table. The more you are at peace within yourself, the more likely you are to manifest a positive outcome.

Laughter Expressive Meditation – Two Minutes
Step One: Laugh for no reason (one minute)
Step Two: Sit in silence (one minute)
After releasing stress and tensions with laughter, you experience joy, oneness, and creativity.
You can do this for longer than two minutes; just be sure and do an equal amount of time for each step.

Gibberish Expressive Meditation – Two Minutes
Step One: Gibberish (one minute)
Step Two: Sit in Silence (one minute)
Express your frustrations, resentments and tensions in the gibberish. You then find it much easier and quicker to drop down into a state of inner peace, clarity, and wisdom.

Setting an Intention Meditation – Two Minutes
Set the intention that you want the outcome of your discussion to be for the highest good of everyone concerned. Sit silently, eyes closed, relaxing into acceptance of what is, with compassion for yourself and everyone involved.

I look forward to your comments below.

And Join my Laughing Buddhas Network – it’s FREE!

The “F” Word: 5 Steps to Practice Forgiveness

How to heal a broken heart:By Dawn Gluskin

No, not that “f” word. The other “f” word: forgiveness! The Buddha compared holding onto anger to grasping hot coals with the intent of throwing them at someone else. You, of course, are the one that gets burnt. So, why is it that we often walk around holding onto resentment, grudges, and animosity? Sometimes for years or even a lifetime. Why do we recycle unpleasant circumstances in our minds and keep those wounds open?

Although counter-intuitive, the answer is to protect ourselves. Albeit going about it the wrong way, our ego mind wants to keep us safe. So, if a past situation has hurt us, our ego mind likes to replay it over and over, keeping the memory and feelings alive to prevent the same situation from occurring again. But, in reality, we’re not protecting ourselves at all. By holding onto the grudge, we’re actually keeping those wounds wide open, fueling the flames of the negative emotions, and causing even more pain.  Even if we feel we are directing these feelings at somebody else, it’s really ourselves that is being hurt by living in the past with a closed heart and vengeful mind.

This is a subject that I continually practice to become better at myself – we all need to! Human nature is that people aren’t always good to each other, unfortunately. When you’re on the receiving end of some unkind treatment, it’s not always easy to just let go and move on – especially when you find yourself feeling hurt and angered by it. It’s in these moments that you grab onto those hot coals and start sizzling away from the inside out.

Forgiveness (of both self and others) is the most powerful spiritual tool we have, and it is accessible to all of us. Forgiveness is synonymous with freedom, one of the most important conditions for happiness. In the wise words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.” But, while it is easy to say forgive and forget in theory, it’s not always so easy to put into practice. If somebody wrongs us, why should they be let off the hook for being awful? What about how they made you feel? You didn’t deserve that, right?

But, here is the thing. Forgiving somebody does not mean that what they did is okay or that you are going to be BFF and have them over for Sunday dinner. It just means that you are releasing them and are no longer going to let them have any control over you, your feelings, or your energy. You owe it to yourself to completely let go of any animosity so you can live your most peaceful and joyful life. Need a little help putting the “f” word into practice? Here are a few tips that can help guide you along your way:

  1. Take it to your journal and just let it all out! Why are you are upset? How have you been wronged? How did it make you feel? Be completely real and raw. This is a private conversation, so don’t hold back. Venting to a friend has its merits too, but a well-meaning friend can inadvertently fan the flames even more by agreeing with you, making it even more difficult to rise above and let go. A journal gives you the therapeutic effects of venting, without the potential of making the situation even more volatile. As the words flow out of you, imagine letting all of the negative energy and emotions surrounding the subject being released out of your body with them. (In some intense situations, a journal might not be enough as outward feedback and guidance is needed. In those cases, I would suggest working with a therapist or other professional)
  2. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and empathize with them. Again, this doesn’t make them right or what they did okay. But, why do you think they acted in such a way? Perhaps they had a difficult upbringing or some pretty hard knocks in their lifetime. Maybe they are going through a rough patch and you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and caught some of their shrapnel? Maybe they just don’t know any better and they’re dealing with the pain in their life the best way they know how. Practicing empathy and letting a little compassion flow is very healing. It’s a reminder that we are all from the same human family, none of us without flaws or mistakes. We’ve all needed forgiveness at some point in our lives.
  3. Send them love and light. Find it in your heart to bless them and let go of the hurt feelings. Picture them as being happy and allow yourself to feel happiness for them. This one is the toughest of them all. It takes tremendous strength to wish joy on the one who has done you wrong. But, it’s also the most important step to freeing yourself. Everyone deserves happiness. If you can master this level of forgiveness and compassion, your heart will always be free of worry and full of love.
  4. Forgive yourself, too! Sometimes you can be hard on yourself for what happened. Or maybe you are even beating yourself up over not being able to forgive and forget easily. If you do find your brain going back to that unforgiving place, just know that your mind is creating this thought, but that doesn’t make it reality. Your soul and spirit are above this. When you identify that a thought does not align with your spirit, just allow it to come without attachment and look at it from the “observer” role, letting it pass by. Practice being gentle and loving with yourself. You deserve happiness!
  5. Be grateful for what they have taught you. Every situation in our life, but especially the negative ones, can teach us something. Think of these people and experiences as spiritual assignments. Especially in the case of not being able to forgive easily, that is an indicator of a potential major “a-ha” moment or awakening waiting to happen. Show up for these assignments and be ready to receive the lesson. Be grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow.

You might need to find yourself repeating some of these steps before finally getting it all out of your system and and moving on. Especially if somebody really got under your skin, you will need to dig deep into your heart to find the forgiveness needed to let go. In the meantime, remember it is only yourself that is hurting more, so try to go to that place inside where love resides sooner than later. Who can you practice the “f” word on today? Do it for YOU!

If you have your own forgiveness story, please feel free to discuss in the comments below.

For more inspiration and guidance from Dawn delivered right to your inbox, sign up here for the Dawnsense email list.  You can also join her Facebook community and visit her website for more blogs and videos.

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Dawn-GluskinDawn Gluskin is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and author. Despite her experiences as the founder & CEO of a technology firm, her definition of “success” is not defined by these accolades, which have oftentimes come at the price of high-stress and misalignment. Instead, she believes in listening to the whisper of our souls which gently tug us towards our life’s true purpose. She finds much joy in her writing and coaching, sharing her journey and truth with others. She feels blessed to be “mommy” to two sweet little girls who teach her so much and she lives with her loving family in sunny Florida.

Betsy Chasse: The True Meaning Of Surrender

sur·ren·der  suhren-der

verb (used with object)

1.to yield (something) to the possession or power of another; deliver up possession of on demand or under duress: to surrender the fort to the enemy; to surrender the stolen goods to the police.

2. to give (oneself) up, as to the police.

3. to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc.: He surrendered himself to a life of hardship.

4.to give up, abandon, or relinquish (comfort, hope, etc.).

5. to yield or resign (an office, privilege, etc.) in favor of another.

I have been examining the word surrender lately. It has so many negative connotations. Just like many words in the English language. It’s taken on a sinister tone. Surrender – to give up, to yield. Even the definition itself finds nothing positive to say.

In spiritual circles surrender sounds so blissful and peaceful and freeing. Leave it to the new agers to take a negative word and make it positive. But my programming forces me to struggle with the idea that surrendering can be peaceful. I cannot reconcile letting go of what I believe to be right and fair with the idea that if I do it will bring me peace. With every ounce of my being I know it will not.

I like letting go. But, being me, I have to really drill down to see what it is I’m letting go of. I often advise my daughter to choose her battles. I find I’m pretty good at deciding what’s worth fighting for. It’s interesting the words I choose- Battle, fight. How can one surrender with those words being thrown around?

I’ve spent days drilling down surrender, what it means, what’s at stake, what will I give up? How can I “surrender” to bring me peace when I know it won’t? What does winning mean to me? What does it mean for those I’m fighting for who count on me to not surrender?

Yesterday, a really good friend finally cracked the egg for me. I don’t have to surrender to something that is worth fighting for. I have to surrender the fighting. I have to surrender the emotions attached to winning or loosing. I must let go of the attachment to the outcome. Ahhh. If the fight I have chosen is righteous (and who knows what that means! – another blog I guess) Then I should continue, calmly, slowly, and an eye on WHO is waging the battle and for what. Be clean with my intentions, be honest with myself, listen carefully and do not fight the fight, be present to myself and my emotions, but do not let them fight my battles. For that is where we loose.

Everyday we fight a battle for something. Often the fight is righteous. In the macro and the micro. We must stand up for ourselves; to surrender to the attachment does not mean to give up.

To me it makes a better warrior.

Betsy Chasse Co-Creator of the film “What The Bleep Do We Know?!”, Author and Radio host. To find out more, read her past blogs or podscasts of her radio show “Life Unscripted” please visit www.betsychasse.net

Check out the new book by “Bleep” film maker Betsy Chasse “Meta-Noia – A transformational Change of Heart” You can purchase it from www.betsychasse.net or the kindle version at http://www.betsychasse.net/kindle

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / Sarah G…

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