Monday, November 24, 2008

Steps 10-12 for personal peacemaking

Here are steps 10-12 of Lynn Fitz-Hugh's 21 steps on personal peacemaking. These were published in August 2008 in the Friends Journal.

10. Each person has something to teach us. "People do not arrive in our lives by mistake, even when we did not choose them to be in our lives. If we successfully evade one "nuisance," another one with the same traits will show up It is best to learn the lessons about ourselves and life that we are to learn from this person. That we do not like this kind of person is not the lesson. This person is in your life as a teacher..."

I guess this means that the person and the conflict will point to something in ourselves we can improve. This is a lot like looking for the good, or answering that God, in each person.

11. Judging a person or deciding 'who is wrong and who is right' is just another form of blaming. People have differences in opinion, in cultural norms, in styles of doing things, in interpreting information, and in acting in the world There is not a right or a wrong way about this. Our standards are right for each of us because of the life we have lived. That does not make our standards right for someone else who has lived a different life ... When we judge someone else or try to define him or her as wrong based on 'our truth,' we are insisting that our way is the way. Instead of this we must acknowledge and accept the differences. We must figure out how to build bridges across the differences."

oooooh I really like this step. It speaks to me! And that means it will be speaking to others I relate with. Lucky them.

12. People do not cause other people's feelings. "Rather, Person A does something and person B observes that action and then decides what it means to him or her. We all have had experience of starting out feeling one way about something, getting a slightly different perspective, and then having a different feeling about it. Despite the sense we have that our feeling are automatic and unbidden, we actually do choose what we feel. .... Even though we may not welcome it, it is a chance to look at our old feelings, process them, and heal."

What a powerful step this truly is. We cannot change other people We can change how we respond to them.

Now an update. Last evening two people I love were having a dispute over what happened. "B" said she had told "A" about something, and "A" was certain she had never heard about it. This went back and forth for a few volleys, then I spoke up and invoked step 1 of the 21 steps of personal peacemaking. I didn't express it quite the way Fitz-Hugh did, but it stopped them and they pointed their discussion forward. Someone else in the room thought my remark was very Zenlike, which I take as a compliment. Anyway, I helped peace and reconciliation a little last evening and am glad about that.

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