Frank and Donna (husband and wife) were in a conflict. Frank was upset at Donna for not watching their dog carefully. The dog was playing in the yard and bit into a frog (something the dog does occurs frequently that is toxic and can be lethal if proper first aid isn't applied immediately.) Donna immediately applied first aid, then rushed the dog to the vet's office (a 5 minute drive), where the dog was cared for and perfectly fine. The vet explained that this happens often in their area and that she did the right thing. All someone can do in that situation, is to apply immediate first aid. Everything went well. She was happy the dog was fine and that she handled the situation perfectly. She didn't know it, but her husband was not so happy.
During the course of the day, he was not in a good mood. He was not speaking kindly and was edgy. Donna had no idea why he was acting that way. When she asked him, he said he didn't have a good night's sleep, and a lot was going on at work. As the day went by and his attitude worsened, she realized... he was angry at her. She didn't get involved in a fight. She took a long PAUSE, walked away and gave him some time to calm down. Later that night, Frank expressed himself in a calm tone of voice, stating that the reason he was so angry was because he had asked her many times not to let that happen. He felt she ignored his requests. He spoke of all the times he told her not to let the dog play outside alone and to watch him carefully. He felt she did whatever she wanted, disregarded his requests which ended up causing the dog harm. She felt attacked (she lost her PAUSE-ability) and she defended herself. She responded in an angry tone and loud voice, "You weren't home, you don't know what really happened. I was speaking with a friend who was telling me that her son was in the hospital paralyzed on one side of his body. The doctors can't figure out why. You aren't home all day and you don't know what it's like to babysit the dog. He wants to go out every 5 minutes. I can't babysit him all day like that. I'll never get anything done that I have to do." And on and on it went. It did not have a positive outcome nor did it have a peaceful resolution.
The next day, Frank tells his wife he feels resolved with the conflict and that if she's ok with it, they can be finished with it and move forward. She didn't feel resolved with it. She was unhappy she jumped into a fight. She did not appreciate the way he spoke down to her as if she were a child. He spoke in a calm tone but did not respect her position in the situation or give her the benefit of the doubt or even hear her side of the story. He only saw his side, not hers. She spoke the truth but not in a kind, effective way. She wasn't exactly sure what felt wrong, but something did. Once again, she took a long PAUSE.
The next morning at breakfast, the husband asks her how she's doing. She tells him that she doesn't feel they had a peaceful resolution and that she wants to say something but she doesn't have the right words yet. And instantly, the words appeared.....
"what you have to say is important to me. I value your opinion. I don't think you realize that when you speak to me that way, I can't hear the important message you are trying to deliver. My ears close and so does my heart. You didn't say you were concerned about the dog. All you said is that I didn't obey your requests and that I didn't follow your directions. Was it about you or your concern for the dog?
He listened and thought for a brief moment and responded...
"I hear you. I tried hard to express myself without anger but I realize even though I had a quiet tone of voice, I was not expressing my concern for the dog. I was mad that you disobeyed me. I see it now." It was clear that his heart was touched. She did not attack (which always causes a defense). She merely expressed what her heart was feeling.
They continued the conversation peacefully throughout the next day. They discussed how they each become so self-absorbed that we don't even think of the other person and what their experience is in the situation. It becomes all about us, what we see and think. We become judgmental, critical and give negative labels to the other's actions. When we take a moment (a few hours or sometimes even days) to PAUSE and think about the other person, everything changes. When we take time to respect that person and their point of view, which is usually different than ours, our perspective changes. We feel that we are behaving in a holier way. We are connected to our goodness. It comes from our soul. We feel so good. And so does the other person. They feel valued, respected and loved. Not attacked, criticized or judged. We become so involved with fighting for our position, who's right, that we forget to even consider the other person. All we see is that they didn't act according to the way we wanted them to. According to our scripts, agendas and dreams.
When you bring honor and respect into your relationships, you, the other person and the relationship become spiritually elevated. You feel closer to the other person and to Hashem, as you are acting tzelem Elokim, (as you were created in the image of Hashem). When you stop attacking others, you can speak from your heart and you touch someone else's.
*Their home has now been declared an anger-free home. Anger is toxic and destructive to relationships. It only causes harm to the ones we love (and others). It is "me" oriented. Anger is harmful to the body. It is the most evident physiological emotion. You can feel it instantly in your racing heart, tightened muscles, rising blood pressure, aching stomach and head. It is not loving, compassionate, merciful or kind. One may feel hurt, sad or disappointed but PAUSE and take a moment to honor the other person, as someone in your life that you value greatly. Respect their opinion, even when it differs from yours. They have a different history, personality and character traits than you. Talk to them while connecting to these loving, kind compassionate thoughts (of them).
Amazingly and immediately, you will realize that you can resolve conflict without anger!
It is peaceful, loving, gentle and kind.
It is living and being tzelem Elokim!
JEALOUSY: A True Story
10 years ago, a woman (Janice) met up with an old friend (Carol) that she knew from 20 years earlier. Their children (now in their 30's) were friends when they were younger. Janice and Carol met in a restaurant where Carol was having dinner with her now-grown children and their children (her grandchildren). They chatted for a few minutes. Carol returned to her table with her family and Janice to the ladies room.... where she cried. The tears of jealousy poured out of her. Carol had the life she had envisioned for herself, lovely professional adult children, with their spouses and their children. Janice's adult children were still single and childless.
She returned to her table but couldn't get the jealous thoughts out of her mind.
Over the next 10 years, the women ran into each other, a few times a year. They chatted and each time, Janice was crying inside, filled with jealousy for the life she wanted for herself. As Carol's children and grandchildren grew, Janice's children remained childless and alone.
Last week, Janice heard that Carol had a stroke and was hospitalized.
This week, Janice attended her funeral.
A very sad, but true story.
THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS AS THEY SEEM:
(One of the vaad members shared this story -through the eyes of her child).
The mom was driving a van full of kids on the expressway. Driving in front of them was a tow truck, towing another truck. The truck being towed was hooked up to the tow truck by its' rear wheels (which meant the front of it was facing the mom's van). The tow truck was going fast on the expressway. The mom was driving along and looked in the mirror and saw her 8-year old son in the back seat, looking terrified. "What's wrong" the mom asked. He answered, " why is that truck driving backwards on the expressway and speeding towards us?"
We can never imagine what someone else's eyes see. Her son couldn't see the tow truck in the front. All that was visible to him, from where he sat (a totally different perspective) was a truck driving backwards.
*your comments are always welcome and appreciated.