Tug of war… and peace

War is constant. All over the world. Tension builds between two parties and the thread of peace fraying away eventually snaps, sending everyone scrambling into battle-mode. Strategies are employed, troops are deployed, and eventually the battle comes to end. Usually in a bloody, wounded mess, resulting in many casualties.

Finding peace among the wreckage is akin to finding a small needle in a farm full of haystacks.

It’s no different in regular life. Day-to-day life. Day-to-day relationships. Day-to-day conflict.

People are constantly at war. At home, at work, out on the street, or in their car. The mantras of ‘survival of the fittest’ and ‘dog-eat-dog’ are often bandied about as an excuse to do whatever it takes to win.

Unfortunately, this promotes the unnecessary need to get one up on the person beside you, even if it means standing on their head to get a foot up. A fellow human, trying to make his or her own way in the world.

Rather than help, there is an instinctive tendency for a lot of people to hinder.

Why?

So we can feel a little better about ourselves? So we can yank that job from under their nose? So we can make a few extra dollars? So we can reach the next set of traffic lights a few cars ahead of where we would have been?

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Is that what life has become?

Hell no. Not for me. We might not be able to control how the rest of the world responds to potential conflicts, but we can control ours. At the very least, we can control whether to get drawn in to battle, play nice, or avoid the war altogether.

It’s becoming a bit of theme in this blog where I put forward suggestions as to how I try to follow my own advice. It doesn’t always happen, I admit, but here goes:

  1. Share the wealth, and your love with it. Life isn’t Monopoly. It’s not a battle to see who has the most money by the time everyone is ready to die. Don’t be afraid to give a homeless person, or the waiter who served you, or the stranger at the counter searching the deepest crevasse of their bag for extra coins, a buck or two, or even three. Will you miss it? Think about who benefits more from those few bucks, not to mention the gesture that went with it.
  2. Those bad drivers that cut you off, swerve in and out of traffic, and don’t use their indicator. Annoying huh? You know what, who cares? If you feel angry while driving, chill out. Who cares if someone just overtook you or cut you off? Jamming your through the car horn only increases your blood pressure, it doesn’t change the situation. Set up a ‘happy’ playlist on your iPod. When you’re in the car and you feel like you’re getting angry, resort to your ‘happy’ playlist. Crank it up loud and sing along. You won’t even notice the rally drivers around you (just keep your eyes on the road!)
  3. Does it bug you that your co-worker takes 12-minute tea breaks when they should only be 10 minutes? Are you going to report them to the boss? Confront them? Gossip behind their back? Ask yourself how that 12-minute break actually affects you. Ask yourself if there’s anything you do at work that might get on the goat of others. Then let it all go…
  4. Are you surrounded by people who you don’t trust or respect, or that don’t trust or respect you? Are they people you constantly argue with? Why are you still around them?
  5. Be honest. Be honest with yourself, to your partner, your family, and your friends. Unnecessary day-to-day conflict is often borne out of dishonesty of some form or another.
  6. Play fair. In the office. On the sports field. Everywhere. Approach promotions and new projects at work with honesty and through the right channels. Compete with integrity and honesty. Win fair. Lose fair. Be gracious in defeat. 

I understand that life has conflict that cannot be avoided. They are conflicts that need to be dealt with head on and they are just a natural occurrence of life.

This post is about unnecessary conflict. Finding battles and starting wars when there’s no need to. Both small-scale, such as at work, or treating life as one big battlefield where survival comes at the cost of everyone around you. This is about strategy. Not a strategy on how to win. But how to approach every potential battle and every potential conflict as an opportunity to promote peace and ease. Promote humanity and friendship. Calm the world down, one situation at a time.

Life shouldn’t be about beating the next person. Stepping on other people to get ahead. Or being better, stronger, or wealthier. Winning at all costs isn’t winning at all.

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I feel like a broken-record writing this post after already posting about simplicity, loving monday, and (in the near future) patience. But I’m not repeating myself. It just shows how connected these themes are. Avoiding unnecessary conflict, and not treating life as one big battlefield, are skills that can be harnessed, and trust me when I say they make you feel so much better.

Let me know how you avoid unnecessary conflict. What do you do when you know you’re approaching a battlefield and war is looming? Do you put up your guard ready to fight or do you find a way to calm things down?

p.s. Speaking of honesty…. this piece was inspired by the photos I took of little army men. I just needed to get that off my chest.

4 thoughts on “Tug of war… and peace

  1. Great post! There’s so much truth to your words. But things are always easier said than done aren’t they? Everyone always has the opportunity to take a second to bite back a rude comment or an angry retort and find a way to resolve the situation peacefully, it’s just hard when you’re in the moment and your self control isn’t at it’s strongest. But you’re right, we need to make more of an effort to seek the healthier and more peaceful solutions rather than giving in to our emotions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! You’re right, it can sometimes be a lot easier to say. I still have to cool my temper when I’m in the car if see another driver do something but I’m aware of it, and slowly getting better 🙂 I like your point about everyone having a second to back away from a retort… The opportunity is there and it’s a matter of quickly recognizing it and biting the tongue. I think it can also depend on the frame of mind someone is in before the situation even comes up. I’d like to think if someone is a lot calmer day to day, then the first reaction to potential conflict would be the more peaceful route. Thanks again for your comment 🙂

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  2. Well said! Re: Item #2, I gave up road rage years ago. If it doesn’t directly affect me, I don’t care anymore, and most of the time it doesn’t directly affect me. Long ago I once sped up to prevent someone from passing me on the right at too high a speed approaching the end of her lane, and she merged into my lane anyway, sending me into oncoming traffic! Never again will I give a damn about how fast someone else is going if I’m not in their path. Re: Item #1, I try to overtip whenever I can, because food service is, often, a disgusting and thankless job. People tend to tip because they feel obligated, and then only the minimum. I once observed several servers rocking the place on a busy night, and left a tip greater than my bill, with directions to my own server to split it between three of them (including her). I appreciate hard work! And any time I donate to a cause, I add an extra 36 cents to my offering, as a nod to the first line in Carrie Underwood’s “Change.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s great to hear you turned a bad situation on the road into something so positive for you now! I’m getting better every day – I’m not someone that puts my head out the window and yells obscenities, but more just mumbles a swear word or two under my breath! The tipping thing is a tricky one – here in Australia it’s not compulsory and most people don’t do it. We only tip if someone gives us outstanding service (usually out of the ordinary). We’re heading to the U.S in 4 weeks so I need to learn the tipping custom very quick!! I’m not familiar with song by Carrie Underwood but I’ll check it out 😉 Thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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