Recently I re-found Lynn Fitz-Hugh's 21 tips on personal peacemaking, published in the August 2008 Friends Journal. Lynn Fitz-Hugh is the founder of the Washington state Alternatives to Violence project. She says she has broken each of the 21 guidelines at least once. They are good and I want to share them, and contemplate them as I do so. Please join me in sharing and contemplating.
1. Nothing is gained in trying to decide whose version of what happened is true. In the end it doesn't matter. Each view is real to the viewer--assuming each is honest! "Attaining peace doesn't require one party to accept or capitulate to the other party's version of truth. "
This Friend speaks my truth.
2. Blame is not a helpful concept. "It does not move things forward. No one wants to be the blamed one. No one wants to be wrong... When we blame, it increases the other person's defensiveness and blocks his or her willingness to listen to us. Blaming, either internally or aloud, is a way to foucs on the other person and his or her behavior, rather than on our own painful feelings and our part in what happened. "
I also want to note how easy it is to accept responsibility when I've erred. I sincerely but usually cheerfully say "I goofed, and I'm sorry." Then I can move on and usually so can the other person. But I put my pants on same way as everyone else, and I know I spend too much time in Blameville.
3. Instead of saying "It is his fault," is is more helpful simply to say "it is." "This simply takes the poison of blame and judgment and in some way helps us focus on more practical actions for th future and lessons to learn from the past."
The grammar cop in me doesn't love this--because it hides the subject of the declarative sentence. But I see Lynn Fitz-Hugh's point and will meekly submit--and tell my inner English teacher to shut up.
Tips 4-6 next post.
Walk in peace, friend
2 hours ago