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You’ve Had A Difficult Past, But You Seldom Talk About It And Just Smile, Here’s Why

You’ve Had A Difficult Past, But You Seldom Talk About It And Just Smile, Here’s Why

If you had a deprived childhood or have survived a divorce, you will probably not want to talk about it at all. You may have been neglected as a child, bullied at school, passed over in promotion at work, abandoned by your partner, or been subjected to violence, abuse and other traumas. Yet, you have put your difficult past behind you, continue to smile and look on the bright side. Here are 8 reasons why you took this empowering and inspiring pathway.

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”- William Shakespeare

1. You refuse to play the victim for life

We all have battle scars and they hurt at times. But you have decided that the painful past must not lame you for life. The rationale is simple. You will not play the victim or let people know the awful truth because that means you are somewhat addicted to your pain. You were exploited and defenseless. Instead you have decided to forgive, forget and move on.

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2. You can start afresh

We all make mistakes and I could list a few horrific ones where I took the wrong turning in my life. Like me, you have decided that mistakes are for burning or burying. You have taken your inspiration from Thomas Edison whose workshop exploded in 1914 and all his work was lost. He had to start over but he was glad that all his mistakes were lost.

“Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up. Now we can start again fresh.”- Thomas Edison.

3. You have stopped blaming yourself

You have stopped all the negative mantras about how foolish and gullible you were. Psychologists will always tell us that blaming ourselves is a natural defense mechanism in the post traumatic period. It is also a manifestation of the powerlessness you feel. You have taken the high road to recovery and healing. There is no stopping you and that is why you are smiling now.

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4. You refuse to let obstacles stand in your way

After a traumatic past when every obstacle imaginable blocked your progress, you may have thought that life is just one long struggle. Ryan Holiday has written a book called The Obstacle Is The Way in which he praises the people like you who have the mental strength to overcome things they cannot control. You are the living testimony to that because you still have plenty of grit and resilience, even now. Obstacles are part and parcel of life’s journey.

“May you always remember that obstacles in the path are not obstacles, they ARE the path.” – Jane Lotter

5. You have buried the memories

You have cultivated successfully the concept of mindfulness so that the moment is now. You are in the zone. Memories are exhausting and they use loads of negative energy.

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“Remember? Ohh, I wouldn’t do that! Remembering’s dangerous. I find the past such a worrying, anxious place.” – Alan Moore, Batman: The Killing Joke

6. You keep daydreaming to a minimum

Who doesn’t daydream? It can throw you back into imagining all the “what ifs” scenarios. Or it can trap you into daydreaming about the future. You have dreams of course, but you manage to steer the daydreaming into keeping to your agenda and empowering you in the best possible way.

7. You have worked through your grief

We have all grieved loved ones and mourned their loss. But there are other losses such as financial stability, pets, good health, and loving relationships which can take time to heal. You have coped with the anger, despair and the rollercoaster of ups and downs. When all that has taken its course, you are ready to face life again and enjoy it to the full.

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“Loss has no friend, no allies, no benefit to the human spirit.”- Asa Don Brown.

8. You are traveling light

The traumas, disappointments and wrongs tend to be very heavy. You know the people who always manage to drop these into the conversation or worse still, mention them as excuses, justification, and to evoke pity. But wisely, you have decided that there is no more heavy baggage and you are travelling light from now on.

“Everyone you meet comes with baggage, find someone who cares enough to help you unpack.” – Ziad K.Abdelnour

Not only are you mindful, strong, caring, and confident but you are the best person I know to help other people unpack.

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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