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3 Reasons You May Not Need A Religion

3 Reasons You May Not Need A Religion

Religion. It’s one of the most controversial topics of all time. While it is true that some people are religious about watching their favorite football team every Sunday, religion in general is used to describe a person’s devotion to the church they attend every week on the same day.

Although attending church can be a source of comfort for many people, it can lead to negative consequences. Religion has torn apart picture-perfect families based on the different interpretations of the “rules.” It is often the root of terrorist attacks, and it’s even been known to start wars.

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By definition, religion means to tie, fasten or bind. It’s human nature for people to search for anchors, balance and clarity; however, when left to the devices of some power-hungry, confused or love-starved leaders, seekers can get bound by man-made laws that lead them astray from the essence of life: love. And while you may already have a laundry list of causes to either embrace or avoid religion, here are three more reasons you may not need a religion after all.

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1. God is love, and love knows no fear.

When you find yourself tied to something, fear can’t help but be present.  Think of the dog tied to a tree all day in the mid-summer heat of Texas. Or the way you’re attached to your conference call and can’t find a way to take that much-needed lunch break. Being bound to a religion is no different when it keeps you from living up to your full potential. If it’s holding you back from loving yourself or others unconditionally, binding everyone to certain judgments and limitations, then it’s opposing the essence of God, which nearly every religion interprets as love. Love sees everything in one color, is no respecter of persons, and doesn’t check bank accounts. It casts out fear and encourages you to become the best version of yourself–making everyone else around you desire to do the same.

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2. Religion can become a god thing.

As the saying goes, “When a good thing become a god thing, it’s a bad thing.” Many times folks end up searching for their identity in religion rather than in the essence of the Creator. They try to earn their way into Heaven by following set rules, alienating those who don’t and losing themselves in the process. While learning about the essence of God is a good thing, pursuing perfectionism can easily become a god thing and therefore turn into a bad thing. Seeking the heart of God rather than rules of religion is the safest way to go about spirituality since everything comes down to the cycle of giving and receiving love.

3. Religion can keep you comfortable.

There are countless numbers of churches worldwide, and the majority of them talk the talk but end up limping along when it comes to walking the walk. While they may teach the necessary feel good stuff that helps move you from a mindset of lack into a space of hope and acceptance, you eventually need to be uncomfortable in order to grow in your faith and in your purpose. Staying comfortable equals staying stuck and fosters the “woe is me” mentality. If you’re not getting fidgety and craving more out of each day than just surviving, then you’re fastened to an old way of thinking that keeps you rooted in fear.  In order to fulfill your destiny–and I know you have one!–you must act as the baby chicken acts and peck your way out of your shell.  Peck through the past and explode into the here and now. Start by taking at just one step in the direction of your passion and then another. If religion is keeping you satisfied playing small and dreaming none, you might need to ditch the religion, take a leap of faith and trust the bridge to your passion will appear as you trust more and fear less.

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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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