Are you an expert on conflict resolution? Of course, you are or you never would have survived first grade.
She cut in line!
No, I didn’t. You got out of line.
OK, you go first today, but I go first tomorrow.
And you have resolved millions of conflicts since first grade. That’s why I rebuke those who say war is inevitable because we are such savage beasts, as if we have no clue how to settle disputes.
But to resolve conflicts fairly, each party needs a half-way decent self-image: I am a human being and I deserve to be treated fairly. When a person is completely demoralized they just take abuse, a most unhealthy condition.
But not us! We don’t take it and we don’t dish it out, either. I recently resolved a serious conflict by stating the Popeye Precept: “I yam what I yam.” Surely we could all stand some tweaking around the edges, but when we are mocked for what we fundamentally ARE, then it’s time to pull out the Popeye Precept.
I got an apology, which I completely accepted and I have been treated much more respectfully ever since.
And lest we get too big-headed, don’t forget the Popeye Corollary: “And that’s all what I Yam.”
Two steps toward a healthy self-image:
1. I Yam what I Yam.
2. And that’s all what I Yam.