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Use Compassion and Understanding to Achieve Family Harmony

Use Compassion and Understanding to Achieve Family Harmony

    Every family encounters a situation where the actions or inaction of a particular family member has a negative effect on the rest of the group. These issues are difficult to resolve because families are a fragile and complex unit.

    Because of the complexity, people have to be sensitive and compassionate when dealing with family issues. The family has to come together, discuss the issues and come up with a solution that takes into account the needs of the family member at the center of the issue and the needs of the rest of the family. Otherwise, missteps can result in the division of the family unit and years of emotional bitterness.

    Stage 1: Group

    Creating a group

    Make sure to involve everyone who is suitable and capable of offering help. Otherwise, the group will run the risk of leaving resources on the table and exclude family members who have a vested interest in the process and outcome.

    It is best to avoid the following people when forming a group:

    • Ex-spouses
    • Estranged relatives
    • People who are immersed in family politics
    • Aggressive personality types
    • People with personal agendas

    Commitments

    It is important to make certain commitments during the planning process.

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    These include:

    • To avoid passing judgment on the person in question
    • To be compassionate during every step of the process
    • To avoid personal agendas

    Stage 2: Questions

    The group has to answer some key questions before any planning can take place.

    These include:

    • Why have we gathered?
    • How is this issue affecting the group?
    • How has this issue manifested itself?
    • Why do people want to see this issue confronted and resolved?
    • What are people’s intentions?
    • What are we hoping to achieve by working together?
    • What do you consider a successful outcome?

    It takes time and compromise, but everyone needs to enter the process with the same objectives.

    Stage 3: The Planning Sessions

    Indeed, three factors decide when, and if a plan will be implemented, including a timeline, milestones to measure progress and a regular inventory of resources.

    Having a person agree to the solution and then not being able to deliver on the promises of support and resources, will result in a loss of trust and a fracturing of family unity.

    Other issues to consider when developing a plan:

    · Location for meeting with the family member

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    · Individual commitments

    · Communication between group members

    · Available Resources

    • Friends
    • Programs
    • Money

    Stage 4: The Agenda

    The Agenda will guide the group during their meeting with the relative.

    It includes:

    • Statement of Love and Support
    • The intention of the meeting
    • Solutions
    • Plan of Action
    • Possibility of Failure
    • Agreement

    It is a systematic run down of everything that the group has discussed and agreed upon. Also, leave enough room on the agenda to make notes and make changes to agenda items during the confrontation.

    Stage 5: The meeting

    Opening Statement of Love and Support

    Begin the conversation with a statement that demonstrates the group’s commitment to helping the person in question

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    Intention of the Meeting

    Ask for everyone’s cooperation and make it clear that everyone has a right to be heard without interruption. Also, remind everyone of the importance of the meeting and how it is in everyone’s best interest to act in a polite and considerate manner.

    Solutions

    Review the agenda at the start of the meeting and summarize the process, debate and hard work that led everyone to this meeting.

    List solutions and review the proposed timelines for these solutions. Permit extended pauses between points to allow for positive and negative feedback and commit to addressing them during the meeting.

    Adapting Solutions

    Discussion and debate will reveal new information and the group has to adapt to any drastic revelations. Nevertheless, the process from beginning to end has to be democratic, so that everyone adheres to the decisions made by the group.

    Also, allow the relative to contribute their own resources, including supportive friends, medical or work support.

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    Be Supportive without Surrendering

    Be attentive to any aggression or negativity on either side and do not let the group splinter. A loss of unity will allow the relative to question the groups commitment and the validly of their concerns.

    In periods of heightened tension, the more self aware, mindful and respected people in the group have to step forward to manage the situation.

    Take breaks and regroup. Everyone involved will need to be reassured of the purpose of the meeting.

    Negative Outcome

    Every family and situation is unique, so even the best intentions and hard work might end in failure. In extreme cases, the group might decide to ostracize the individual, use medical intervention or take legal action.

    Agreement

    Once the group has reached a consensus, an amended Master Agenda will act as a contract between everyone involved.

    Every individual will commit him or herself to the agreement and guarantee they will do their part to fulfill the contract.

    Taking on family issues is no different from any other complex problem that a community might face. The group must find a common ground and draw on each other’s strength to find solutions. Ultimately, committing themselves to a common purpose.

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    Last Updated on August 4, 2020

    The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

    The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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    1. Value Your Time

    Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

    2. Know Your Priorities

    Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

    For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

    3. Practice Saying No

    Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

    4. Don’t Apologize

    A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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    5. Stop Being Nice

    Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

    Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

    6. Say No to Your Boss

    Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

    But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

    7. Pre-Empting

    It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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    “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

    8. Get Back to You

    Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

    “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

    At least you gave it some consideration.

    9. Maybe Later

    If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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    “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

    Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

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    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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