Holidays are supposed to be a festive time of gathering, celebrating, and enjoying our loved ones. And there can be a ton of drama. Relatives crammed into a small space, expectations running high, and you never know when someone is going to get offended or bring up that topic that always leads to arguments. Here in the U.S. we've just completed mid-term elections, so there's plenty of politics to discuss. Whether your family is one who can talk openly about hot topics like politics, or chooses to “agree to disagree” to keep the peace, it’s often tough to keep drama from sucking the festivity right out of the room. Here are the first two tips for keeping yourself sane this holiday season. Tune in next week for three more tips to bring compassion to your holiday season.
Are you tired of drama? Would you like to have closer, more accountable and supportive relationships? Unfortunately drama won't just go away on its own. That's because conflict won't go away. We are going to have conflict, but we can make different choices in...
Dr. Stephen Karpman loves sports. He is also an internationally acclaimed psychiatrist, author, therapist, and former athlete himself. As early as 1965, Karpman was doodling circles and symbols trying to figure out ways that a quarterback could outsmart the defensive halfback in football, or how offense beats defense in basketball.
The dishwasher didn't get run so it's full of dirty dishes. The trash didn't get taken out and now we have to smell stinky garbage for a week. The laundry was left in the washer all night and now it smells dank and musty. Does this happen around your house? What happens next? Around our house, we all start pointing fingers by asking, "Who forgot to run the dishwasher?" "Who didn't take out the trash?" "Why didn't the laundry get dried?"
Compassion means you care enough to engage in creative conflict with someone.Many people misunderstand compassion to be entirely about empathy, sympathy, caring, support, and doing good for others. Quite the contrary. The Latin root of the word means “to struggle (or suffer) with.” Sounds a lot like Michael Meade’s story of co-petition from my earlier post. Compassion definitely includes a heart-felt care for another, however, this caring is translated into co-struggling.
The misuse of conflict could be the greatest energy crisis in our lives.Just the other day I took a call from the office manager of a company looking for help with workplace drama and conflict. She shared her observation that there was too much gossip, wasted time, avoidance, and tension in the office. I asked her what the company had tried so far to address the problem. She said they “told everyone to stop.” Unfortunately, she reported, after a brief lull, it all started back up, only this time it was secretive and even worse.
Conflict can be VERY destructive. You don't have to look past the news headlines to see the destruction caused by conflict around the world and in our own communities. Maybe you have experienced firsthand the damage that conflict can cause. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
I grew up the son of Mennonite missionary parents. Mennonites are a protestant denomination known for their work in peace and nonviolent conflict resolution. The early messages I received growing up were, “Turn the other cheek,” or “Find another way to solve your problem without resorting to violence.” My parents dedicated their lives to building more peaceful and compassionate relationships. I respect and admire them immensely. And I've always struggled to reconcile this philosophy with reality.