If someone was to come in and threaten you, how would you respond? I ask this is training and so far we have about 16 different ways people would respond. I use this to illustrate that how we respond is more about us and our experiences than what happens externally. And yet we all still prefer to blame external circumstances/ people for how we feel and the way our life is instead of taking responsibility for ourselves. That’s not to say it’s OK for someone to behave badly, but what we do with that is up to us (providing we are adults of course).
I wish I could make it popular for people to look to themselves before they blame others. Of course we are all human and not perfect but somehow we seem to have forgotten this basic premise, we’re waiting for others to change, or for others to make others change etc. It starts with ourselves. It’s easy to judge others and think we are right, but that in itself is wrong. They think they are right too, and from each others side and way of thinking they are. Butting heads doesn’t change that.
I was recently reading something about atheists v religious people and I just thought wouldn’t it be better to focus on who we are as people and how we treat each other and the world than who is right? Teaching basic kindness etc.
I also read a book called the anatomy of peace that I believe would change the world if it was taught in schools. It’s a story with meaning, and a basic message of seeing people as human beings and not as objects that get in our way. Whenever we are in conflict with others, at what ever level, we are forgetting they are human beings too. People that have families and concerns, and who are just trying to do their best also. It’s that walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, not what would I do in their shoes but if I were them in their shoes. Subtle but big difference. I used it recently when I went into a situation that could’ve been contentious. Instead of feeling ready for a fight I saw them with love and compassion. It changed my approach totally. Even negative pains in the arse have a reason for being like that and wouldn’t be if they knew how else to be. From a place of compassion it is possible to connect and talk. I’m also now reading an Adam Kahane book – he’s a real life hero who goes in to conflict and facilitates peace. He says it starts with seeing all sides as a ‘we’ looking for a joint solution. And we are – how can we all live together happily, and get what we want without damaging each other.
So much of our problems come from people not being happy with themselves too, all trying to change external circumstances to feel good inside (even destructive behaviour is usually a better feeling than that person felt before). If we can teach people to feel good about themselves first it will make a huge difference. I once heard Bill Crosby say ‘only hurt people hurt people’. Hurting them more won’t solve anything. (and again I say this does not mean being soft, sometimes the kindest thing is to stop someone doing destructive things).
But anyway – for now I’m trying to think how we can make peace popular, or is that trendy? How it can be the in thing to look at yourself before you blame others, and to make peace in your own life before you expect peace elsewhere. How do we empower people to believe they can make a difference in their own lives, and the world, and will feel a damn sight happier if they do? Hmm, will get pondering on that…any ideas???
(PS Did a search on peace on twitter, wow – lots of ideas…)