I agree to resolve conflicts directly
It’s not a problem that we have a problem.
It’s a problem if we don’t deal with the problem.
Mary Kay Utecht
Remember the Revolutionary Agreements? I know it’s been a long summer, but hopefully you remembered the first six. Agreement Seven is a tough one. Really they all are, but some are tougher than others. Problems are a part of life, aren’t they? But the more we ignore them, the bigger they become. This agreement asks us to handle problems directly, with speed, compassion and by talking to the person directly.
I remember working in the corporate world where the rumor mill was rampant. Sometimes the rumors were about lay-offs, restructuring or restacking. I was always excited about restacking, because everybody got moved to different floors and we got a couple of extra days off. But sometime the stories were about conflicts between co-workers. One party would go around telling their story and getting people of their side. Talk about drama! An office of a couple thousand was a hotbed for rumors and conflict.
This agreement says to go to the person involved and speak directly with them. But tied into this Agreement are three others; to look within at your reaction (Agreement Three), speak your truth with compassion (Agreement Two) and listen with your heart (Agreement Five). Here is a story about how one friend followed the agreements and the other friend didn’t.
A couple of weeks ago the Honda started acting up. In order to drive it, you had to hold the key in the start position to keep the engine on. So that meant Richard had to hold the key and drive and Malaika had to shift. She thought that was pretty cool. It took a couple of days to get the car fixed and Richard was gone, so I asked my sissy Amalia for a ride to the garage. On the way, I asked a simple question and didn’t get the answer I expected. And I reacted horribly and forgot all the agreements. I spent all that Saturday crying and Sunday trying to figure out what to do. Amalia, on the other hand, followed the Agreements and Monday resolved the conflict directly. She sent me a beautiful e-mail showing that she had looked within at her reaction (okay, I did too and knew I was wrong), she spoke her truth with compassion and was willing to listen with her heart. And, guess what? We are sisters again. This is a very powerful agreement.
Think of problems as rocks, some are pebbles and some are boulders. When a problem is not solved, it’s like putting a rock in your backpack and carrying it around with you. Over time your backpack gets heavier and heavier until a pebble drops in and it’s all you can take. So use this agreement to empty out your backpack. Name your rocks, deal with them and toss them. Next time conflict arises don’t put a rock in your backpack. Be brave and deal with it directly.