There’s an old Chinese ‘blessing’ (that’s actually a curse) which goes ‘May you live in interesting times.’
I think we can safely say that, given world news over the past few months, we are most definitely living in ‘interesting times.’
As I write, the most recent of events that may be classed as such is the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. This, just like the Brexit vote that preceded it, has brought about a lot of hurt feelings and conflict. And these conflicts are felt not just in Parliament, the EU or the White House, but in homes, friendships and places of work across the globe.
Because in both cases, public opinion was split almost 50/50.
In both cases, there was a lot of vitriol and harsh words spoken on both sides.
In both cases, the decision that was voted for had an awful lot riding on it and all options had huge repercussions.
In both cases, hearts were broken and hopes were dashed for around half of the population, whilst the other half rejoiced.
And in both cases, loved ones disagreed, media shamed, people on social media clashed violently with words and on the street people clashed violently with fists and other weapons.
On a micro and a macro level, people are at War – with people that they know and people that they don’t. Whichever side they voted, there are raw emotions and recriminations. People everywhere are gathering allies, building up thought armies to protect their own views and do more damage to ‘the enemy’. When we are at War, we are unresourceful, belligerent and separated - and it feels horrible, albeit self-righteous.
So, if the news upsets you, what can you do?
One of the tenets of War to Peace® is to ‘Control the Controllables’. Whether or not you think Brexit is a good thing, or that Trump is the worst choice for president, the harsh reality is that you are unlikely to be able to do much to change that fact.
We do not have control over external events – especially ones that involve people voting in their millions – so campaigning vigorously for a recount or similar will be almost certainly a waste of energy.
What we do have control over is how we feel about events – our emotional state. Whether we are at War or at Peace over events, our emotional state will greatly affect our level of influence and the actions we take.
If you are at War about an event, you will likely feel some or all of the following: angry, righteous, powerless, slighted, indignant, upset, overwhelmed or hurt. Actions taken from this place will be informed by these feelings and may include harming others or ourselves at worst, or being argumentative and grumpy at best.
If you are at Peace about an event (and this doesn’t mean that you agree with it), you will feel more at ease, empowered and resourceful. Even if you are disappointed, you will have mental clarity, you won’t take it personally nor will you catastrophise. If fact, you will have far more capacity for thinking about what actions you can take that will be helpful to you and others, such as spotting opportunities to strengthen and build systems, people or values you believe in.
We can also learn how to quickly change our emotional state - imagine being able to feel entirely differently in a heartbeat whenever you want to? If this appeals to you, come along and experience it for yourself at our next War to Peace® workshop.
Whilst it's unlikely as individuals that we can change the fact that we are living in ‘interesting times’, we can at least choose the way we feel about and experience those interesting times. And when we are at Peace about them, we can make a difference as individuals, by being able to be in the same room as Aunty Ruth / Tony from accounts / the loud-mouthed man on the train (whose opinion is very different from ours) without exploding internally or externally, which sets us up to be able to both hear - and influence - those we most disagree with.
Over to you
Are you at War about something at home / at work / in the world? How does this limit you?
What is one 'controllable' that you can pour your energy into instead?
Want more support?
If you want to get more insight about the role you are playing in your relationships that aren’t working the way you would like them to, you are invited to take a look at our FREE Spiral of Disempowerment tool™.
And if you would like to experience our award-winning War to Peace® workshop, where you will genuinely learn how to stop undermining your relationship success, our next public workshop with spaces is on 3 March 2017 (just 7 spaces left).
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©Halcyon Global 2016
Photo credit: torbakhopper