I don’t know about you, but I find interpersonal conflict to be a difficult issue to tackle. My first instinct is to ignore the problem and be like an ostrich – stick my head in the sand and hope the unresolved issue of conflict will just go away naturally. Of course, I’d like to shrug it off and “let it go,” but in order for me to let go of the conflict, I must first deal with it. And to deal with it I must address it. Therein lies the difficult part – my part. I find it most effective to address the issue in conflict directly with the person I’m having the conflicting issue with. Yes, that means communicating with the individual in-person and not through an email or a text. In this way both sides are able to communicate verbally and it allows for the use of body language. I’ve gotten my feathers ruffled on many occasions by misinterpreting written word only to realize later that it was a simple case of misunderstanding on my part. For issues on which there seems to be no resolution, I’ve found it helpful to employ the assistance of a neutral third-party. By following my own advice, however, I’m usually able to handle difficult issues best by dealing with them directly and timely. In other words, I just deal with it!
I’ve never had a problem dreaming. I’ve had a problem doing. Somehow, in some ways, my dreams have gotten placed in between never, never land and the land down under. Oh, mind you, my dreams have been big. Larger than life itself, perhaps. But dreams they’ve been. I’ve managed to hold myself spellbound as I set about doing the things necessary to untangle my intricately spun web. Things like holding my head high despite several tries and remembering to take deep breaths before attempting to accomplish the next unnecessary feat. Dreaming I love and dare to do, it’s the undoing of the not doing that I have trouble with. It’s hard to remember the very necessary lesson of not being too hard on oneself and to be aware of encouraging and inspiring moments that occur in some of the most simplest moments of our lives. Moments when we’re not dreaming but fully awake. I’ve had to learn to listen with my head and now always my ears. To understand that others see ourselves differently than we think they do. That’s when I know my dreams are being realized and I’m fully awake. When I hear the words of encouragement spill forth from the mouths of more than one person throughout a given day. It’s the small moments that help me realize that my dreamy state of mind can be achieved just a little bit, slowly one day at a time. That’s when I know that I’m dreaming it and doing it.
Practicing it won’t make you perfect but it’ll make you aware. We’ve all probably been taught at some point in our lives of its virtues, but have we examined its meaning? What does it mean to be kind? To understand, perhaps it’s best to know what it feels like to be treated in an unkind manner. I’m pretty sure we can all remember the last time we felt like that. But can we remember the last time we treated someone with kindness? What were the circumstances under which we chose to act in a kindly manner. And no, I’m not talking about patronizing manners or obligatory responses. I’m talking real. Right here and right now. Starting with today. We’re all too busy thinking and worrying about ourselves and “what’s in it for me.” And in doing so we’ve missed the opportunity to respond to an overwhelmed student or coworker. All because, if you please, we were thinking all about “me” instead of “them.” We know what it feels like when we’re left to feel the sting of a perfunctory thank you or please. My challenge is this: let’s think ahead and outside of ourselves. So the next time we’re in a situation which may require compassion, we think instead of how we can best be prepared to respond to a need selflessly and with compassion for someone in need of a kind act instead of an eye-rolling dismissal. You see to be kind, we must think of someone other than ourselves. That’s how I wish to be remembered. As an example of kindness. We’ve been taught the lesson, but so have we learned? What a difference kindness can make.