My blog is all about how to engage conflict without casualties. I’ve written quite a bit about reframing our relationship with conflict and drama. In this post I suggested that compassion is the antidote to drama. Struggling with people instead of against them is a terrific way to harness the positive power of conflict. So how do you do it?
Three skills help us practice compassion: Openness, Resourcefulness, and Persistence. This post is about Persistence.
Persistence is about clarifying, reinforcing, and enforcing boundaries in a way that preserves dignity. It means struggling alongside others to uphold what is important. Here’s how:
What is important to you? What are your values and standards for living your life? Ask yourself these questions:
What’s most important to me in life?
What principles drive my decisions and actions?
What kind of an example do I want to be to others?
Clarifying our boundaries is important. But if we don’t follow through on them we aren’t walking the talk. It may sound like:
“We agreed not to gossip. Will you please stop talking about John when he’s not around?”
“I don’t drink. Will you please stop offering me wine at the company parties?”
Accept responsibility and make it right
We all mess up and make mistakes, even with the best of intentions. The real test is what we do next. Accepting responsibility means fully owning your behavior, apologizing to those affected, and doing your part to repair the damage. It might sound like:
“I am really sorry about being late to the meeting. I want you to trust me to be on time, so I’m ready to work on a plan to fix that.”
“I apologize for questioning your intentions. That was inappropriate. Next time I will ask instead of assume.”
Accountability and compassion can co-exist using these three strategies.
Things to ponder
- Why is it so difficult to balance accountability and kindness?
- What are your boundaries? How can you enforce them in a spirit of dignity?
- What could you gain by being more persistent?