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Call to Action

Guest Post by Senator Linda Newell: Conflict Resolution

1st October 2016

CR Month/BillionActs of Peace Blog
October Call to action!  

 

Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado is proud to partner with PeaceJam and their Billion Acts of Peace campaign to create more civil and compassionate communities of peaceful living.

 

Not one person has made it through years of life without experiencing conflict at some point.  Throughout history, we’ve witnessed horrible consequences of conflict becoming violent, yet also ingenious innovation and inventions that started with the presence of conflict.

 

Every year in the workplace, employers across the country are losing millions of dollars in employee absenteeism, lost productivity, and employee turnover due to people not knowing how to prevent or solve people problems.  How many marriages could be saved if people knew how to stop yelling and start listening?  How many taxpayer dollars could be saved if members of Congress could put their egos aside and collaborate on solutions rather than finger pointing?

 

Why?  Well, many people just don’t know how to manage conflict effectively.  Perhaps, they haven’t been taught those skills or had positive peacekeeping role models demonstrating those behaviors.  Maybe they need to hear from us that they need to find a better way of leading or governing; a more collaborative method.

 

Just in our government alone, imagine if every elected official, government employee, or contractor collaborated peacefully with each other in their work.  The efficiency and effectiveness of government would soar.  The cost savings would rise.  And trust in government could be regained.

 

This is why we have Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado.

 

What is Conflict Resolution Month, and how can it help our communities?

 

Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado began in 2007 as a local initiative inspired by the work started with Conflict Resolution Day.  In 2009, realizing one day was not sufficient time to share resources and advance peace education and skill development, we became the first state in the United States to proclaim a whole month dedicated to conflict resolution.  Governor Bill Ritter declared a gubernatorial proclamation, and the Colorado State General Assembly began a legislative resolution that have both been annual ever since.

 

http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2016a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/963324799D23D0B187257F660003F986?open&file=SJR013_signed.pdf

 

Across Colorado during October, there are local, regional, and statewide events that range from proclamations, workshops, to town halls, to open dialogues where people can learn tips and techniques about preventing or resolving their own conflicts.

 

Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado does not host events, rather, we engage and support others in finding ways to celebrate or promote constructive problem solving through hosting events or activities of their own.  These “events” may take place at home through family discussions, personal practice, or in a community via dialogues, film screenings, book discussions, trainings, and more!

 

Go to http://billionacts.org/ to participate in the October events!

 

How can conflict resolution methods help you personally?

 

Envision having more peace in your home or peace among your friends or neighbors.  Think of hearing your kids bragging about solving their own problems on the playground or in the classroom.  And what if you knew how to handle that cranky coworker, customer, or boss?  Your workday would become easier and more enjoyable.  If we had the tools to prevent or minimize just some of our conflict, imagine how much better life would be for all of us.

 

Doctors tell us that when we reduce the stress in our lives, we reduce our chances of heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, etc., and the list goes on.  And what creates stress?  Usually, some sort of conflict–internal or external.

 

With October as Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado, it’s a great time to look at conflict in our own lives, how we deal with it, and resources to use when in the middle of stagnant, persistent conflict.

 

So here are some tips on resolving conflict in your own life:

 

  • Be preventive – The best way to deal with conflict is to prevent it, whenever possible.  Be proactive, and take a short class on conflict management.  There are inexpensive, sometimes free, workshops available in our area.  Your employers might even offer free conflict coaching or conflict management workshops through your employee assistance program (EAP), if they have one.  You can gain great techniques to help you prevent escalating conflict or dealing with your or someone else’s conflict style or anger behaviors.

 

  • Take an inventory of the conflict in your life – Many of us walk day-to-day, mildly or fundamentally tolerant of anxiety or conflict in our lives, never really acknowledging it.  Living like that can add stress not only psychologically, but also take a toll on your health, and even your life span over time. It only takes a short jaunt to your journal or couch for a few minutes to take an inventory of your relationships and situations in your life that might be adding conflict to your life.  Who or what is adding conflict to your life?  Write those down TODAY.

 

  • Do something about it – If being late to school every day, creates conflict in your home at the start of the day, stop it!  Set alarms earlier or create a better system for your family so everyone can start their day peacefully.  Or if you’re not talking with your boss about the bullying behavior going on in the office or your cubicle neighbor who’s irritating you, talk to them.  Most conflicts can get resolved just by starting the conversation.  Better relationships and working environments can result just from listening and talking with each other honestly and respectfully.

 

  • Get some help – If there is conflict in your life that you feel you can’t resolve on your own, talk to a professional.  Whether it’s a dispute with a neighbor, co-worker, spouse/former spouse, family member, or organization, there are numerous resources right in our area.  Conflict coaches, group facilitators, mediators, and counselors are all resources to help you find fair scenarios that can move you through conflict peacefully…without going to court or dragging your own health down the proverbial toilet.

 

It is possible to live peacefully.  Believe it.  Do something about it.

Listen. Talk. Work it out.

 

Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado http://conflictresolutionmonth.org/

Contact: crmonthco@gmail.com

 

Join us in becoming the most civil state in the Union!

 

In peace,

Colorado State Senator Linda Newell

Member, Conflict Resolution Month Synergizer Group

Comments

  • Dawn Engle
    Posted at 8:48 am October 3, 2016
    Dawn Engle
    Reply Author

    This is so beautifully written — really fantastic!

    • Sen. Linda Newell
      Posted at 4:19 pm October 4, 2016
      Sen. Linda Newell
      Reply Author

      Thanks, Dawn! And thanks for the PeaceJam/Billion Acts partnership!