How often have you found yourself in a difficult situation with someone and opted to simply agree with them? Or remained silent, simply to avoid any form of escalation, even though you knew you didn’t like what they said? It might have felt like the easiest thing to do at the time. But, no doubt it left you feeling angry, or with a bitter taste in your mouth, at what you knew to be unjust. These times where we operate outside our own values are one of the signs of seeing red or as we refer to it in the War to Peace® methodology as ‘being in the Red’.

When we’re conflict (or in the Red), we typically believe that the other person that needs to change their behaviour or their words in order for the situation to be resolved, or for us to feel better. At our War to Peace® workshops, we demonstrate how it isn’t necessary for the other person to change at all, and instead focus your attention on how to maximise your greatest source of influence, which actually resides within you. In recent years, we have all become more emotional intelligent, especially in the workplace, where outbursts of rage are no longer the norm.

So, our conflicts have become subtle, perhaps it was we held back from contradicting amore assertive colleague in a meeting. Or when we appeared to brush off a perceived slight from a close friend or relative, but silently seethed, or resorted to passive-aggression? It’s likely on these occasions that we have moved into the Red, but to a shade so subtle we didn’t detect it.

Red flag at protest with red smoke

Photo credit: Dawid Małecki on Unsplash

What colour is my operating system?

A cornerstone of the War to Peace® methodology looks at our Operating System, which is how we are being, as opposed to what we are doing. This is what people can sense – the undercurrent beneath our words and actions that is always either helping, or hindering our efforts. The notion of “actions speak louder than words” doesn’t quite hold true in the way we might hope. This is also good news though, because we can learn how to optimise our Operating System, which is what’s driving our external behaviour. A key part of shifting our Operating System out of the Red, where we convince ourselves that someone is at fault and must change, is knowing we are in the Red in the first place. And this may not be as easy as it sounds.

50 shades of red

Some red flags are fairly common to us all and others may be particular to an individual. Some are brightly coloured and so obvious that they bring physical manifestations, such as feeling tense, or having a racing pulse. We literally “seeing red”. Therefore, colour-blindness, when handling our own Operating System can prevent us not just from seeing which shade of red we are in, but even that we’re in the Red at all. Fortunately, we can come to recognise how we are being at any given point in time. We can then take back control of the situation and focus our efforts where they are most needed.

Over to you

  1. When have you operated outside of your own values and then blamed yourself or others for how your felt or what you did?
  2. Think back to the moment you knew you had betrayed yourself – where did you feel it in your body?
  3. What impact would it have on you if you noticed this more quickly and took a different course of action?

Do you know someone who could benefit from War to Peace®?

If you know someone who would benefit from learning how to control the controllables in their interactions with their colleagues, family or friends, spaces can be booked on our courses that anyone may attend here:

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©Chloe O’Sullivan