Thursday, March 29, 2007

Power or Peace?

When conflict arises in families, it is very easy to get sucked into the vortex of asserting power, assigning who is right and who is wrong, and basically trying to get your way. Now, I am not saying that there is never right and wrong, but I am saying that it is not as frequent as we might like it to be.

When we get into a pattern of making everything a right or wrong issue we overly moralize situations that could be left alone, negotiated, or at least tolerated. When we moralize we often assert power toward the moral position. Why? Because it is right of course.

I want to make two comments about moralizing.

1. Do not use right and wrong unless it is absolutely necesssary. Overuse of assigning right and wrong wears thin pretty quickly and often diminishes personal connection.

2. When moralizing is called for, do it morally. There is acertain paradox when it comes to morality. Sometimes there are immoral processes toward moral outcomes. Asserting power to impose morality can quickly become an immoral process toward a moral outcome. I am not saying don't assert yourself ever, but I am saying that there are times when getting your way, even when it is right, can be wrong in ow you achieve the goal.

Spending your moral energy trying to assert peace in the family might be a better process and ultimately morally superior approach to take in negotiating conflcit in family life.


luvnlife said...

I finally adopted an approach that I think this is what you are talking about. When I disagree with my husband about how he handles his step-children or his ex-wife I have decided that If he asks for my opinion then I will give it honestly. I accept the fact that he probably won't follow my opinion and I'm okay with that as long as the decision doesn't affect me directly in a negative way. For example, I often times feel his ex-wife interrupts our weekends with the children with phone calls and short shopping trips, etc. However, if it doesn't bother my husband and if it doesn't conflict with any plans I have made then I "decide" that I will not get upset over it.

When I made the decision to look at things in this manner, I can't even express how it felt when the anger was lifted from my mind. It's not always easy, but I have found that applying this approach has made my life less stressful and the relationship with my husband less strained as well.

Fajita said...

Finding balance releases peace and sets people free. Forcing things seldom works the way we want it to and things get broken the more foce we apply to them.

Oona said...

Good for people to know.