Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Resolution of Differences

There are differences of belief, personality, emotion, ideas, choices, values and lifestyles.
Where there are differences, there will be conflicts.
Conflicts often result in stress, fear, unhappiness, and pain.
Therefore it is usually beneficial to resolve conflict.
Methods of conflict resolution may be mature and helpful or immature and destructive.
The method chosen may be the result of emotion, attachment, maturity, knowledge and consciousness.

Right now it appears we are in the middle of many conflicts, ie. internal wars, disagreements with others, lawsuits, misunderstandings, family feuds parental struggles and wars between nations.
These can be resolved in a mature neutral and win/win manner for the benefit of everyone.
But usually they are unresolved with destructive fighting, arguments, polarization, both parties feeling hurt and misunderstood. When one party loses, the other party may feel like a winner, but will lose in the long run. They lose trust, respect, integrity and feelings of safety with others.

Those caught in the middle may feel hurt, lost, despairing.
Often children are used to get even in divorces.
Often mediators are unappreciated by both parties striving to win.
Often the destructive patterns of anger, badgering and bullying are so habitual, they are tolerated.
Often the conflict seems to be resolved only to flare up again, until both parties seek peace.

To resolve conflicts:
Gather facts…Listen to both sides and write down what they believe they need.
Seek an outcome that both parties can agree to: ie.peaceful resolution, both sides feel satisfied, etc.
Check out accuracy, as values differences often are misinterpreted.
Note where there are differences in perception and values (almost always).
Invite both sides to establish fair rules of engagement and discussion.
No interruptions, respectful language, stating thoughts, choices and perceptions from “I” position.
No blaming, staying focused on the desired outcome and on resolution of topic at hand.
Brainstorm and write down 30 possible solutions with no criticism of any.
Go through the list allowing evaluation and elimination of any that are unacceptable to either party.
With the few potential solutions left, invite a discussion of how they could be most effectively and harmoniously implemented on a trial basis with a scheduled follow-up evaluation.

Probably the single most important preliminary to conflict resolution is that both parties want and believe the conflict can be resolved fairly. Where this is agreed, it can be achieved. When either side believe that resolution is impossible, they will sabotage any possible resolution or agreement.

Currently our culture is promoting fighting rather than dialogue.
Our government is demonstrating “might makes right” and use of threat and power.
Our legal system expresses desire for justice, but uses deceit, hidden information, and dishonesty.
Our corporations are often guided by greed rather than by consumer satisfaction and safety.
This may be because we seem to have a preponderance of immaturity, greed and need to win at all costs.

If you are inclined to fight for what you want or get angry, blame and intimidate others, ask yourself:
What are my values?
What is fair for me and others?
Do I know how to negotiate to seek a win-win for all?
Am I willing to find a peaceful resolution and stop fighting?
Would I rather defeat my opponent or create a fair outcome for all?

We can bring peace to our families, to politics, to competitive sports, to our workplace, to the world.
Betty Lue

More practical tools tomorrow.