How To Engage Peacefully With Difficult People: A Look At The Mindset Of Conflict And Resolution
In “The Anatomy of Peace”, readers can learn how to resolve conflicts and how not to.
We all know that confronting difficult people usually leads to blame and reproach.
By understanding our own mindset and the strategies we use when handling conflicts, we can take the necessary steps in order to avoid or settle them.
Sultan Saladin is a great example of this idea, as he was able to win a war without violence or aggression, only with peacefulness of heart.
It’s important to understand that even with good intentions, like trying to help someone overcome an addiction for instance, it’s possible to be drawn into a cycle of resistance and trouble if one isn’t careful.
Therefore, by applying core concepts from this book such as seeing things from other people’s perspective and refraining from muttering phrases like “you always” or “you never” among many other tips it provides us with the tools we need in order to genuinely listen and understand people around us in order for their actions towards our own peace venture forth resolution.
The Power Of A Heart Of Peace: Choosing Compassion Over Conflict
When you encounter those around you, there are two ways in which you can view them: with either a heart of war or a heart of peace.
Choosing to have a heart of war is often rooted in prejudice and will suppress our sense of compassion.
This mindset perpetuates hate, conflict, and war by seeing another person as inferior or an object rather than as a human being.
It frames them through the lens of their group or concept rather than recognizing them as an individual.
On the other hand, having a heart of peace opens you up to recognizing people for who they are: burdened by their own fears and desires.
This choice allows for empathy and understanding which can create peaceful interactions with those around us.
This was seen historically when Sultan Saladin forced Christians out in twelfth century Jerusalem, but provided them with safe passage along with keeping access open for Christian pilgrims afterwards.
In order to maintain peace and respect those around us, we must choose to recognize others as individuals and embrace compassion towards everyone we interact with regardless of differences.
Conflict Can Thrive When We Have A Heart Of War And Deny Other Perspectives
We are all guilty of creating conflicts by refusing to accept different perspectives.
Whether it’s in the home, with a spouse or partner, a coworker, or on the world stage – we naturally fall into damaging cycles of denial and blame.
When two people hold a heart of war rather than peace, what often results is one party not only thinking that everyone else is wrong but also denying them their own individual perspective.
This happens too often among parents who think they know what’s best for their children without attempting to engage and respect their experience and opinion.
At this point, these opposing parties end up solidifying their positions such that any chance of dialogue or compromise becomes increasingly unlikely.
This unfortunate fact holds true even on the international level as well, particularly between Israel and Palestine whose escalating conflict has become an impossible situation to break free from – Especially since each party insists that the other was somehow going behind their backs and resorting to manipulative tactics.
And thus both sides actively perpetuate the conflict by refusing to consider alternate points-of-view.
The Key To Dealing With Conflict Is Compassion And Creating A Harmonious Environment
Rather than focusing on trying to change a person who has done something wrong, the better approach is often to think of ways to improve the environment around them.
If your partner hasn’t been fulfilling their side of the chores, it can be helpful instead of trying to criticize and force them into different behaviour to actually try and understand what they’re going through.
For even more serious issues such as drug or alcohol addiction, improving things by building a compassionate, trusting relationship can have much more positive effects than trying to strictly enforce rules or blaming them for the problem.
By reaching out with a supportive environment will also promote meaningful dialogue that can make life changing behaviour easier.
The same goes in a workplace situation when employees are unhappy and demotivated – rather than lashing out at individuals who seem uncooperative or unfocused, creating an overall harmonious work environment that allows for open dialogue about any issues that might be present is much more likely to reap long-term benefits for everyone involved.
We Justify Our Hurtful Actions With Self-Created Boxes, But We Have The Power To Leave Them And See The World With Clear Eyes
We all too often justify our hurtful actions by putting ourselves in boxes, such as the Better-than or Victim Box.
We might tell ourselves that we’re more special, talented, or important than others, or that we have been victimized and so must take our feelings out on those around us.
This mindset not only prevents us from understanding the perspective of others and resolving conflicts with them, but also encourages us to treat people as “less-than” what they deserve.
Luckily, this can be avoided.
One way to do this is to try seeing the situation from the perspective of others.
If you tend to be disrespectful toward customers at your job, think how you would feel if you were a customer receiving the same type of treatment.
Stepping out of our boxes and allowing ourselves to empathize with others helps us escape from our justified feelings of unfairness and begin viewing the world with perspectives that allow for greater peace.
The summary of The Anatomy of Peace is that our traditional approach to conflict doesn’t result in true peace, and this book gives us an alternative path.
We need to change our hearts and the way in which we view people around us in order to find a resolution.
The actionable advice that the book offers is to get out of the Better-than Box mentality – as often, this is a way in which we stay stuck and continue to see others as lesser-thans who don’t deserve help or recognition.
It’s essential for us to be open-minded when approaching others and truly understand their feelings and emotions, as it might just be the event that changes their lives for the better.