So, as you may or may not know, I am the 1st Counselor (over the Mia Maids) in the Young Women's presidency in my ward. And as such, I have to teach lessons every other Sunday. A few months ago, I was teaching a lesson about resolving conflicts, or something along those lines. I had a thought come to me while preparing it: So very often, when we are in the midst of a conflict, we turn everything outward and blame all of our problems on others. What I realized, is that most often, the problem doesn't lie with others. The problem lies within us. (Whoa!? You mean everyone on the planet is NOT out to get me, or ALWAYS picking on me!? You mean it can sometimes be a problem with me!?) We do this, especially, if we tend to look at things with a "poor me" attitude. (Raise your hand if you sometimes do that because I'm raising mine.) It's such a self-defeating way of thinking and doing it takes our energy away from fixing the problem. So, we pretty much turn ourselves into our own worst enemy. We look for faults in others because we feel wronged, thereby, turning ourselves into the victim. We assume that everyone else is wrong and we're right. (Admitting that I am not always right is a very tough pill for me to swallow.) We let our own hurt feelings get in the way and prevent resolution. We waste countless hours screaming at the top of our lungs how right we are and how wrong is everyone else. Or, at the same time, we even let the opinions of others cloud our judgment and prevent resolution. A friend posted a great quote on facebook: "During the bonfires of life don't take advice from the person holding a gallon of gas." Are we letting those who are pouring gasoline on the flames of the problem, influence our opinions? Or, even worse, are we the ones pouring on the gasoline? (Unfortunately, I'm guilty of both offenses. I need to learn to leave things alone.) In actuality, if we want to resolve our conflicts, we are the ones who need to make changes. After all, WE are the only human beings on this planet that we have total control over. So, why not start with ourselves? If we aren't willing to make the changes in ourselves, every.single.problem.we.ever.have.WILL.get.us. down. Even worse, every time we take this approach, we risk gradually become more and more bitter, resentful, cruel or even vengeful. (Sounds like a lovely combination, no?) We only hurt and then destroy ourselves. I revealed my realization to the girls and I suggested/asked them if they might try to think of this the next time they found themselves in the middle of a conflict. Perhaps, try to approach it thinking, "what do I need to fix in myself in order to fix this problem?". I told them if they would it, they would see their problems and conflicts be resolved much more quickly and then dissipate altogether. (Remember how you said that, Christa? Hmmm...reminding myself.)
Now, once I challenged them to try and see things in a different light, I realized that I have to do the same. I can't be a do as I say, not as I do kind of person. Because am I guilty of doing this? Absolutely. And more often than I care to admit. Have I been perfect in applying this thinking to my everyday life since that time? Absolutely not. If I don't consciously keep an open mind during a conflict, I veer to the "poor me" way of thinking and I turn into a shrew. Who wants to be around a shrew? I certainly don't. And more importantly, my family and friends don't. I NEED TO TRY HARDER AND I NEED TO TRY HARDER EACH AND EVERY DAY! I need to be aware, conscious, present and mindful of ALL of my actions. Whether in times of conflict, or good times too. The Young Women president of my ward said it like this: We need to stop thinking that we should be treating others the way we want to be treated. Rather, we need to think that we should be treating others the way that Jesus Christ would treat them. The way he would treat others is the standard we should be holding ourselves to. She also gave the girls a fantastic handout yesterday. It's a coin with a sticker on each side, with one side reading: What I do reflects who I am! The other side says: Who I am reflects what I do! Great food for my thoughts. Time to apply, apply, apply!
This has been another long, jumbled, rambling post brought to you by: me. ☺ Have a nice day!