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5/15/06

Conflict Resolution


“War in the world is a large-scale reflection of war in the human heart.” Anne Graham Lotz

In 1868 General John Logan proclaimed May 30 as the official day to honor those who have died in service to our country. There are many stories regarding the beginning of Memorial Day observances with several people, dates and cities laying claim to originating this solemn remembrance. The exact details are not important. It is about honoring those who gave their all.
Conflict is opposing views without grace. Conflict is part of the human condition.

The human heart is a conflicted place containing love and hate, respect and disrespect, war and peace. Following are a few thoughts on how to nurture respect, thereby reducing conflict and promoting peace at home, in the workplace and the world.

Make relationship more important than being right. When relationship is built, the ability to give or to receive information is greatly enhanced. When relationship is lacking, even the slightest difference can become a major source of contention. Be willing to ignore as much bad behavior, rotten attitudes and wrong information as possible. To give up trying to control another is to give up being miserable.

Take responsibility for your thoughts and actions. Ask yourself creative conflict resolution questions:
1. What pre-conceived ideas do I have about this situation? How relevant are they?
2. What is the problem? Define the problem; do not generalize.
3. Is the problem as much with me as with them?
4. Am I trying to force my ideals or priorities onto someone for my benefit?
5. What hidden agendas do I have? What is the secondary pay off?
6. How do I send conflicting messages?
7. What is the solution?
8. Is there a solution?

Maturity is being able to live with unresolved issues and remain respectful of the dissenter. Do not make it a win or lose situation. Have no point to prove and be a willing learner. It does not have to be all-or-nothing; some is better than none.

Do not become defensive. “A good defense is a strong offense” is a wonderful strategy in football but not in the game of life. In times of conflict, do not defend your position so staunchly that you are unwilling to allow a point through. The point might be vital.


Do not become offensive. Use productive strategies to make your point.

  1. Rephrase. “Let me see if I understand what you are saying.” Watch tone of voice.
  2. Listen. Let the person acknowledge “Yes” or “No” to your understanding. If “no”, let the person rephrase what they are saying or meaning.
  3. Gain clarification. “What do you understand my position to be?”
  4. Avoid exaggerations. Do not assign statements to “everyone”, “nobody”, “always”, or “never”. Be more specific as in “John states …”, or more general as in “Some people believe that…”
  5. Ask for proof. If right, supplying proof is no gain or loss but confirmation. If she cannot supply proof, this throws doubt on the validity of the rest of the argument. If he cannot supply proof, be gracious and let him save face.
  6. Clearly state points where you do agree as well as points where you do not agree.
  7. Know when to let go, either in proving or disputing a point. A truth is not validated
    by debate or agreement: it just is.

Receive criticism graciously. Take comments seriously but not personally. Value the person as having an interest in your well-being. Use the criticism as constructive to bring growth and maturity by requesting specific information and suggestions for improvement. Actively listen to words and filter out supposed hidden agendas.

“Everyone who compliments me makes me feel good, and everyone who criticizes me makes me do better the next time. It’s a no-lose situation.” Marilyn Vos Savant

Give criticism effectively. Determine your aim in criticizing and never speak in anger. Watch your tone of voice and hidden agendas. Have the person’s best interest at heart. Be direct; state the problem and what you want done. Once is enough. Give space for evaluation and change. Be gracious with relapse.

Say more by saying less. Use magic words like “please”, “thank you” and “I appreciate it.” Avoid threats and let truth or consequences prevail. Do not gloat when consequences come into play.

DON’T COPE, OVERCOME: Get over it by rising above it. By acknowledging that conflicts are inevitable, you transcend it, and the difficulties are seen as character building possibilities. Resolution is opposing views tempered with grace.

TESTIMONIALS: What others say about Mona’s seminars

“It’s a great experience. A lot of important information is found in Mona’s presentations. It will better your work performance, your people’s skills, how to organize and how to maintain a great work place. In the end, get good results from your workers. It really teaches you a great deal.” Coyletha Williams

“The seminar let me know about myself and how to treat others.” Hector J. Leels

“This will help you to be more responsible and have more motivation in the future.” Sarina Samuels

5/10/06

Ask Mona

Following are Questions posed to Mona and her thoughtful responses.

Dear Mona,

I work, go to school, and take care of my family, so I feel I have to do everything I do, but I never feel like I accomplish anything. How do you feel accomplished? Frazzled Student

Dear Frazzled Student,

I think part of the problem comes with your feeling that you “have” to do everything you do. Life is all about choices. With everything there is tradeoffs. You have chosen to go to school to better yourself, and I encourage you to choose to attend class and choose to do the homework and choose to study. You have a family that you choose to take care of, so choose to go to the grocery story and choose to prepare meals and choose to do laundry or cleaning as a way of showing your love. Making things your choice is a great stress reducer over the dread of “have to” and also lends itself to a sense of accomplishment.

Blessings, Mona


A: Dear Mona,

In your teachings you talk a lot about making choices. Just how do you go about make choices? Rodney

A: Dear Rodney,

That is a broad subject and a difficult topic. Let me see if I can give you a few guidelines that will cover a wide array of circumstances.

First, you need to determine what you value and what your priorities are, as this acts as your compass for life. Next, take a pad and pen and make a list of pros and cons. Be specific and be honest. Weigh the pros and cons independently, not necessarily against each other.

After thoughtful evaluation, make a decision and go with it for a few days or weeks, giving it your all. After a period of time, re-evaluate by revisiting your options and choices. Does the choice need to be continued, dropped or revamped?

If the choice results in inner peace, improved relationships and increased success that is a pretty good indication you are on the right track.

Blessings, Mona

Dear Mona,

I try to be appreciative but so many things go wrong. How can I develop an ‘attitude of gratitude’?” Seminar participant

Dear Friend,

The first step to any life-style change is to become aware of a need for change. Actively pay attention to how you respond to all situations and to feedback from others regarding how you respond. Monitor your thought processes: do you think like a victim or a victor? Monitor your self-talk: is it negative and depreciating or positive and problem solving? Look for life-lessons to be learned from difficulties and allow character qualities to be developed. Over time, this outlook can become the foundation, not only for a pleasant attitude, but also for wisdom.

Blessings, Mona