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Let’s Talk About Conflict

Let’s Talk About Conflict

Conflict is a tricky business. Some people prefer to get all of their frustrations out rather than keeping it all in, some even relish the experience. Here, The Daily Zen share their take on dealing with conflict:

“Don’t go to bed angry.  Stay up and fight.”

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Going to preface this by saying that I don’t mean fighting in the direct sense.  What I mean is that we should not let personal problems fester. Passive aggression is like a cancer and only worsens with time.  If you are having an internal quarrel with a friend, if you are losing respect for someone, if you are suddenly experiencing negative feelings towards someone you care about, do not let it sit.  It may need to for a while, but the longer you wait, the more potentially harmful the situation becomes.  And if you’re not careful, it will boil over, and people will get hurt.  The last thing you want to do is hurt someone you love because you were too afraid to talk to them.  That’s what they’re there for.  Friendship serves to comfort us through the trials of life and provide a real experiential meaning to this strange existence.  We need to give in order to get, and also to address problems when they arise instead of ignoring them.

There’s a real fallaciously harmful aspect of Eastern philosophy and New Age thought that avoids negativity.  It avoids conflict and all the ugly stuff people don’t want to deal with.  And you know what?  That’s what sells the most books.  It’s what drives the most hits to blog posts.  If I were to write about how perfect everything is all the time and how everyone should just love each other all the time and the universe is your best friend, maybe I’d land a book deal or get even more subscribed.  But that isn’t real, and we all know it deep down.  And, based on my experience, the people who subscribe too heavily to the hyper-positivistic New Age theosophy are often repressed or secretly miserable.  Positive thinking can become a defense mechanism to the detriment of good old fashioned honest feeling.  Sometimes we need conflict; sometimes we need to feel pain instead of transmute it into positivity.  It’s alright.

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And so, just as I’ve advised you to embrace sadness, I’ll say this: embrace conflict.  Don’t initiate it if possible, obviously, but for the sake of your own psychological well being and the benefit of everyone else, do not hide your feelings.  Your emotions set you apart from the beasts; they make you human.  You think and act, but you also feel, and these feelings cannot always be curated by ideology.  True emotion is unintentional, and to modify it we need to go deep into our mental caverns.  Sometimes you just need to sit in a room and hurt for a little while.  Sometimes you need to oversleep, or get angry with someone you love.  These things become problems when they are converted into habits, but as isolated incidents they allow for balance.  And at the end of the day, that’s what we can strive for:  balance.

You need to embrace your darkness, essentially.  If you’re feeling shitty, confront it.  Fight the dragon, don’t chase it away with ignorance or sex or drugs or false positivity.  You’ll only feel worse when the highs wear off.  Much worse.

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A close friend of mine came to me in distress recently.  I was, to be frank, being a dick.  I was being cold and distant and had no idea how to handle the situation as I’d never encountered anything like it in the past.  And he stepped forward and called me out, and that was definitely difficult for him.  And it was clearly too difficult for me to do anything about.  I became paralyzed, as we so often do, by the fear of what came next.  What future potential would be forfeited by my actions?  This often binds me and creates anxiety.  Close relationships can be too much for the uninitiated.  I am an introvert and value my solitude, and when I feel it’s being infringed upon I can become hostile.  Learning to be aware of what you make others feel is incredibly important and also quite difficult.

And so my friend brought up this issue and we talked it out.  We went back and forth and dealt with it with honesty, diligence and as much integrity as we could muster.  And it feels better now.  These squabbles allow for relationships to move from plateau to plateau instead of just stagnate and get stale.  As we go through life confronting what ails us rather than pushing it away, we recognize the beautiful relief that comes from fighting that which we fear and standing up for what is good.  Sometimes it takes a very long time to figure out how to properly articulate one’s feelings to another; sometimes the other person gets hurt and needs to confront us first.

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I hope to learn to recognize when I am being unintentionally cruel, passive or ignorant.  And please, for the good of everyone else, let’s make some sort of resolution to transcend these repressive urges and be human.  Sometimes two people need to get angry at one another.  Sometimes you have to share how you feel even if what you say is devastating.  And you may hear things you don’t want to hear, and you’ll most certainly have to deal with them.  You’ll become a fuller person because of it.

On Dealing With Conflict | The Daily Zen

Featured photo credit: Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here cover art by Storm Thorgerson via thedailyzen.org

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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