USDA Professional Standards Tip – Communication
Conflict and Confusion – Part 1 – “Those Shoes Really Stink!!”
The world of man can be a mighty confusing place and that confusion is never more evident than in time of conflict. Be it an argument at work or home, a debate on television or a discussion about a sporting event many people are just so absorbed into their personal picture of how things ought to be that they do not take the time to see things as they are. It is human nature to want things our way and in this overly prideful culture the disease of self fulfillment is seemingly terminal. Terminal in that even though we all see it in others few (very few) are willing to see it in themselves.
Over the course of the last decade it has been my goal to understand and to practice the old Native American proverb that says, “Great Spirit, help me never to judge another until I have walked in his moccasins.” This has helped tremendously in seeing the pain of other people and how it manifests itself in their relations with others. I have found that conflict is more times than not a result of something that has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand. Marital or family problems, illness, spiritual doubts and the growing plague of narcissism top the list of things I have found at the root of many of the conflicts I have been called on to mediate. What I learned is that there is a second part to the above proverb that most have never heard, “Until you walk a mile in another man’s moccasins you can’t imagine the smell.”
So the real challenge we all are faced with is do we work to put ourselves in the “moccasins” of another? No matter the smell. Of course, there will be those that will attempt to unfairly hurt or betray you for no real reason other than they may be jealous of your success, hair color, happiness, shoe size or whatever. The giant step in understanding is that these are really just things and these “hurtful” people have no more control over you than you allow them to have. Your attitude and emotions can only be lost if you choose to give them away.
Conversely, issues that may seem petty and even immature to you may be of great importance to the other person. So here comes the part about “walking in his moccasins”. The hardest thing to do and the most personally rewarding is to take a deep breath and do not react to whatever the other person may be saying, however inane or childish it may seem to you. Ask yourself a very honest question, “What could possibly be motivating them to act this way and of what real profit to me is an angry reaction?” This is the first step into understanding others and ultimately getting a larger portion or maybe even all of what you want.
Coming up – Don’t miss the second installment of Conflict and Confusion – “E + R = O”.
Make it a great day and may God bless and keep you all in every great way.