I’m posting this one as an entry in Kozo’s Blogger’s for Peace Monthly Challenge, which includes a number of possibilities for discussing peace in relationships. I’ve chosen “4 things you can do to become a better partner”, which I’m interpreting in the broad sense of partners in any kind of relationship — friends, colleagues, etc. This is also for Jenny Matlock’s AlphabeThursday , which is “B” this week.
My number one piece of advice for “being peace” in relationships is to know yourself. Not just the surface you or the you you like the world to see but the deep, dark recesses of you. Know what your issues are. The more I’ve known about what my issues and hot buttons are the more I’ve been able to stand back from any conversation or confrontation in which I feel wounded or upset or angry “at” something someone said. I can wind up seeing they had no such intent but happened to land on one of my trigger spots. When you can own what’s yours and not blame it on anyone else, you’ve made a big step toward getting along better with other people.
Second, as Don Miguel Ruiz so wisely put it, “Don’t take anything personally”. The chances are if someone is directing verbal ice picks into your ribs, they ‘re acting out of some of those issues and hot buttons that they haven’t acknowledged and it has nothing to do with you. Huna teacher Serge King says, “People are who they are and they do what they do”. If you can figure out who the people around you are and what they’re likely to say and do because of it, they won’t often surprise you and it will be easier to see what belongs to them and has nothing to do with you.
Third: Communicate well. Practice right speech and especially right listening. Pay attention to what people are saying to you and try to keep your own opinions and attitudes out of it. Ask neutral questions or mirror back what they’ve said in ways that invite them to move deeper into their own hearts about the subject. It’s amazing how thoroughly you can connect when you make conversation a dance about connecting at the heart.
Fourth: Do no harm. Approach every person, every conversation, every action with the intent to create the greatest possible benefit and the least possible harm. That means not being sarcastic, not criticizing other people’s choices, not cutting people off or ostracizing, etc., not manipulating or one-upping, lying, cheating, stealing, etc. Since we (in the US) live in a culture that seems to admire a great put down or a smart remark, I find it takes a lot of mindfulness to avoid being thoughtlessly harmful.
I find the only way to do well with 2-4 is to be really good at the first suggestion and to be very mindful.
The instructions in B4Peace blogging include a link to another of the posts: Perfecting Peace in Relationships.