Wednesday, January 18, 2017

100 Posts!

This is the one-hundredth post to my blog. Something to celebrate? I don't know if the blog has made a positive difference in the world, which is the reason for the blog. How I can I know?

I guess I can't know. But that doesn't matter. I will just have faith that someone will read something that means something to them and they use it to improve their life or someone else's life. That is what changes the world for the better.

So in this post I want to explore how to take the peace we create inside ourselves to make peace beyond ourselves. There are a couple of things to keep in mind. One is that to create peace we must act from a position of compassion, of empathy.And the second is that what we say makes a difference.

When there is conflict it is because someone is not getting their needs met. And you may not know what that need is, even if it seems obvious. All to often what is perceived is just a want that comes from an unmet need. For instance, a childless neighbor constantly yells at your kids for making noise when they play outside. You could assume that their need is for silence/quiet. However, if you get to know them and listen to them compassionately, you learn that the wife has had two miscarriages and often suffers with migraines. More than the noise sensitivity of the migraines is the heartache of not having children of their own. Once an empathic relationship is established you can offer the caring friendship that they need. And you might even find that she would like to babysit for you if once in a while when she doesn't have a headache. Over time, you friendship might even help reduce stress that sets her up for migraines. At least you would have a good enough relationship that she can tell you when she has a migraine and you can arrange for something else for the kids to do other than noisy games/activities.

This gets more complicated when it is groups or countries that disagree. But it is possible to approach all kinds of conflicts from this position rather than from an adversarial position. Rather than clashing in conflict we need to work to together to communicate compassion and empathy. It won't always result in you getting your way or even getting them to compromise. But it will work more often and with less damage than be adversaries.

So, remembering that what you say makes a difference, how do you speak peace? In making peace within yourself you had to chance your self-talk, eliminating blaming and shaming and "shoulding". You need to do the same when communicating with others. Pay attention to what you are saying and how you are saying it. This applies to everyone you converse with - your children, your spouse, your extended family, your neighbors, everyone.

Eliminating these keeps you in a place of wholeness, preserves your inner peace, and lowers defensive barriers. Use assertive language - make "I" statements about what you feel and what you want, what you need. "I feel angry when you yell at me" works much better than "Stop yelling at me!"  Assertive language puts everyone on an equal level. No one is one-up or one-down. This is the way that positive change can come about.

Connect with others, knowing that we are all related, that we have more in common than we have differences. Working from those commonalities makes it possible to build peaceful resolution to problems.

Man did not weave the web of life,
he is merely a strand in it.
whatever he does to the web,
he does to himself
All things are bound together.
All things connect.

-- Chief Seattle

And when we fully recognize that all things connect, our decisions - solutions - will be made with the consideration of how it will affect others, affect the environment, affect life in general. This will make true peace, when we each acknowledge and accept our responsibility to the rest of creation.

To learn more about how to speak peace, I recomment the book Speak Peace in a World of Conflict, What You Say Next Will Change Your World, by Marshall B. Rosenbirg, Ph.D.

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