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The World's Greatest Battle!
"R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find Out What It Means To ME!"
"Or you might walk in and find out I'm gone!" Dear Aretha Franklin... You sang the song so clearly, and we all loved it so much. Isn't it true? Isn't that about as simple as it gets? A little respect when I come home! Of course, it helps an awful lot to get some 9 to 5, or driving in traffic, right? It makes life so much easier when even our enemies give us some, but when we don't get any from the ones who are supposed to love us the most... ouch! There is nothing quite as frustrating, is there?
At the very heart
of conflict arises
the issue of dominant character strengths. Then, at the heart
of dominant character strengths arises the issue of genuine and counterfeit strengths.
In this chapter, we are going to look
more closely at these two to find out what is at the heart of them.
We have seen that the best way to identify a counterfeit is to compare
it to the genuine. So then, in terms of genuine character traits,
what is at the heart of them? It is true that love is at
the very heart of genuine character traits. Love in all its many
varieties is a very complex thing to define. So then, for simplicity,
we will identify respectfulness as
the specific aspect of love that we will discuss.
Respectfulness is at the heart of a well-balanced
The first thing to look at is the idea
of self-respect. Learning to have proper respect toward your
own self is the first step in character growth. We need to have self-respect
first before we can show true respect to others consistently. Without
it, it is impossible to have a well-balanced character.
Self-respect is not the same thing as pride or self-importance. Self-respect
is having a proper regard for your own self as a human being. Self-respect
develops as a result of learning to take proper care of each part of your own
life. It will continue to grow as victories are won in the battles of self-conflict.
As it grows, respectfulness toward others will also grow. This is the foremost
way to avoiding conflict with others.
So then, we must become more focused on respectfulness to others. This way,
our genuine traits will become more active and useful. People get to know us
by our character traits. They desire to see our genuine traits in action. As
they see us using our genuine traits, they will see us as trustworthy and honorable
people. They will see us as people who have a conscious dignity.
If respectfulness is at the heart of genuine traits,
what is at the heart of counterfeit traits?
It is the lack of respectfulness. It
includes both the lack of self-respect and the lack of respectfulness
to others. Harm, injury, or insult occurs when respectfulness is absent.
Conflict is the result.
Conflict is certain to occur when there is a lack of respectfulness between two
or more people. A lack of respect is called disrespect. No one likes
to be disrespected. Conflict occurs when two or more people disrespect each other.
When only one shows disrespect and the other shows true respect, conflict does
Let's look at that closer. If Joe shows disrespect to Suzie, if she responds
with true respect, then a conflict has been avoided. Now, it is possible that
Suzie's feelings where deeply hurt. It is possible that Joe's disrespect of her
was the beginning of her long and hard day. However, if she shows true respect
in response to Joe, a conflict has been avoided. The moment that she chooses
to give disrespect to Joe, a conflict has begun.
Does that mean that Suzie cannot
address Joe's disrespect? Certainly, it does not mean that! However, it does
mean that if she wants to avoid a conflict, she should address him in a respectful
way. Perhaps it would be better for them both to address his disrespect when
Joe is not already short of temper.
Once again, giving respect in response to disrespect is a certain way to
avoid conflict. However, let us admit one thing! When someone disrespects
us, it hurts!
Disrespect can come in all shapes and sizes. It does not make us happy when
we are disrespected. It does not bring joy to our hearts when we are disrespected.
It does not feel good. It makes us feel bad. It makes us feel uneasy
For this reason, it is very easy to pay back
disrespect with disrespect. At times, it seems to be effortless to
do so. Once we do it, it is easy to blame the other for the conflict.
It is so easy to say, "He
started it, or it wasn't my fault!" At last, in every conflict, both are
at fault because both were disrespectful. It does not matter who started
So then, the foremost way to solve conflict is to avoid conflict in the
first place. As long as you treat others with respect, even in response
to disrespect, you will avoid a conflict. You may have not been a success
in the past at avoiding conflict. However, your entire future is based
upon making a better choice next time. You only have to make one good choice
at a time.
Are you already in the middle of a conflict?
No matter what the conflict is, it is the same solution
as for avoiding conflict in the first place. Why is that? It is because there
is nothing you can do to undue what you have already done. You cannot change
what you have done. Neither can you change what has already been done to you.
However, there is one thing that you can do. You can change
what your next choice is going to be. If you are in the middle of a conflict
that you wish to solve, everything depends on your next choice. Perhaps the
other person is not ready to stop being disrespectful to you. Perhaps someone
is an ongoing source of irritation and conflict for you. You cannot change
them. You cannot make their next choice for them. However, you can make a better
choice for your own self. You can choose not to return disrespect for disrespect.
The key to making better choices is to accept full
your own past choices. No one forced you to make the choices that you did.
We love to accept all of the credit for our good choices and none of the
blame for our bad choices. Accept the full responsibility for all the
choices that you have made.
Be fearlessly honest with yourself.
This is the first step for you to take.
The next step is to learn. Learn about your character strengths.
Learn which character strengths you use in a genuine way and which you use
in a counterfeit way.
- Become willing to take a close look at your own self.
- Become willing to see the big picture of your dominant character traits.
- Then become willing to make positive changes ...one good choice at a time!
Conflicts Part Two is a vital and unprecedented tool to help you take
a closer look at your own self. It will be an adventure of learning
and of self-discovery. You can choose your outcome of the journey.
You cannot choose the way other people treat
you. You cannot choose whether they treat you with respect or disrespect.
However, you can choose the way you treat other people.
You can choose to
be the one who treats other people with respectfulness. Your own confidence
will grow. You can make better choices in your own character growth so
that people will learn to have confidence in you.
Awareness of your character
strengths is at the heart of making better choices for yourself.
You can write your own future, one good choice at a time.
Are you willing to begin the journey?
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