Be the Peace Maker
Hello, and welcome to Day 3 of Our Peaceful Summer 10-Day Challenge.
Have you ever thought about what it means to be a peace maker?
Many people have a strong sense that they don't enjoy conflict.
If you ask them about arguments, they will tell you that they don't like having them.
However, conflict is a part of our everyday lives whether we enjoy it or not.
If there's more than one person sharing space, doing activities, making decisions, or even just talking… chances are there will be a conflict.
Knowing this, it's important to ask ourselves WHY we can't deal with conflict.
- Conflict brings up bad feelings.
- Conflict forces us to assert ourselves. (This can be uncomfortable, especially if you're shy or a pleaser by nature.)
- Conflict can bring about disharmony.
- Conflict can ruin trust between two people.
- Conflict can potentially destroy relationships.
So, in a world of conflict, how can you become the peace maker?
First, you may think you know the answer already. You will probably say "avoid getting into disagreements."
But let's think a minute about how disagreements relate to peace.
Disagreements actually DON'T cause use to lose our sense of peace.
What is the difference between a disagreement and a fight?
In a disagreement, two people hold different, opposing viewpoints. Each one may feel strongly about what's being said, or not. But there is likely to be conviction behind each person's statements.
In a constructive disagreement, people express their thoughts respectfully, WITHOUT delivering put-downs and insults.
Two people who amicably disagree can part ways as friends. The have engaged in a respectful exchange of words and ideas.
They agree to disagree. A debate can still result in peaceful relations, even if two people don't agree.
Two people in a fight will part ways as enemies. This is not peaceful.
During a fight, one or both parties do things like belittle, blame, accuse, and disrespect the other person.
To be a peace maker, avoid fights. Show empathy and respect during a disagreement.
Did you know? Disagreements are actually useful. They help people negotiate for compromise.
In a compromise, two people meet halfway.
EXERCISE: Practice living peacefully, yet with purpose.
Peace between people happens when everybody gets at least some of what they want.
As mentioned before, some people try to avoid having disagreements with others. They feel that this keeps the peace.
But, to be a true peace maker, you needn't compromise your own wishes, thoughts or ideas. Why? Suppressing yourself causes resentment. You're being "agreeable," on the surface, but inside you're angry.
You feel like you're not being heard. Your needs remain unmet. This will not bring peace to your heart.
EXERCISE: Be a peace maker even when you disagree with others.
The way to keep peace is to learn how to express yourself in a non-hostile manner. A peaceful disagreement can result in compromise. True harmony!
Consider this. The answer to increasing peace in your relationships is NOT silencing your own voice. Nor is it sacrificing your own needs.
If you want to be peaceful YET live purposefully… be more selective and mindful of when you speak, what you say, whom you say it to, and how you say it.
When a conflict or disagreement comes up in your life, seek to make peace.
Listen fully. Open your ears, eyes, mind and entire being to the other person. Hear them fully with all of your senses engaged. Focus on what they are saying, not how you will respond.
Wait your turn. It helps to let the other person finish their thought before speaking your piece, and being peaceful about it.
Be calm. There is no rush. Choose your words carefully so that intended meaning is conveyed.
Show respect. This means not yelling, not accusing, not insulting and not interrupting.
Show empathy. Imagine the perspective of the other person. Why do they say what they say? How do they feel, and why? What if you were in their shoes?
Pick your battles. Be selective in what things you should speak up about or against. Let other, less important things go.
Take a pause. If you're not sure if you should speak up, hold your thoughts for a bit. See how you feel after sleeping on it.
Work on timing. Is this the right moment to talk? Are people busy? Distracted? Is there an audience? Wait for your moment if you hope to have peaceful yet productive talks with others.
Work on compromise. Living peacefully means meeting others halfway so that everyone gets some of what they hope for.
Write down your intentions for bringing more peace into your life.
Describe what it might mean to be peaceful, yet purposeful.
How do you feel when a conflict happens between you and other people?
Are you able to articulate in a peaceful way?
What can you do in the future to make sure your needs are met and your ideas known, while still expressing yourself in a peaceful fashion?
Have you ever played the role of peace maker between others? What did you do or say to help them resolve a conflict and part ways as friends?
For the Future:
Now that you know how to disagree peacefully, take it a step further. Help others work out their differences in a constructive and positive way.
Be a mediator for others' disagreements.
Gently guide the conversation so that each party gets a chance to speak and be heard.
Support others by listening and really hearing what they have to say.
Know when is the right time to be involved, versus staying out of others' conflicts.
Help others see that they are working toward good things for everyone.
Help your friends and family recognize the good intentions of others.
Work on seeing things from other people's perspectives.
Speak highly of others even in times of conflict. Offer benefit of the doubt and work toward positive communication.
If you want to work more on listening and reacting mindfully, on being more peaceful the Simplify your Life course will guide you to do just that. For more details click here.