"We give ourselves the best opportunity to make clear-minded decisions only to the extent that our hearts are at peace." -- The Anatomy of Peace

Choosing to resolve conflict begins when we approach it with a "Heart at Peace." So opens a new book I just finished, The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict, by the Arbinger Institute. Our way of being (Heart at Peace or Heart at War) influences every aspect of the conflict, including what we say and how we say it.

"In the way we regard our children, our spouses, neighbors, colleagues, and strangers, we choose to see others either as people like ourselves or as objects. They either count like we do or they don't. In the former case, since we regard them as we regard ourselves, we say our hearts are at peace toward them. In the latter case, since we systematically view them as inferior, we say our hearts are at war."
We often approach conflict with a heart at war. The need to belittle, blame, and justify prevents us from seeing the conflict clearly, exploring others' perspectives, and treating each other as human beings. We treat people as objects and they respond in kind. When we are at war, we encourage others to go to war. Consequently, we end up provoking the hurtful behavior that we later blame them for and unconsciously collude in creating the kind of conflict conduct we detest in each other.

The Anatomy of Peace gracefully exposes us and gently invites us to change. Through the lives of others we see the possibility that exists to choose peace in every moment. Yes, words are important, but my way of being tells my conflict partner all they really need to know.

Author's Bio: 

Judy Ringer is the author of Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict (www.unlikelyteachersbook.com) and the award-winning e-zine, Ki Moments, containing stories and practices on turning life's challenges into life teachers. Judy is a black belt in aikido and nationally known presenter, specializing in unique workshops on conflict, communication, and creating a positive work environment. She is the founder of Power & Presence Training and chief instructor of Portsmouth Aikido, Portsmouth, NH, USA. To sign up for more free tips and articles like these, visit www.JudyRinger.com