The political tension in the air has spilled over into many of our homes. Even the Palatniks have had more than one “spirited” conversation around our dinner table.
With conflict in the air, I would like to offer some quick “Shalom (Peace) Hacks”:
The 24 Hour Rule
I did not know this until many years into our marriage, but apparently, on the rare occasion that I upset my husband, he would wait 24 hours before bringing it up. When he teaches this to men, they push back: “But if I wait 24 hours, I’ll forget!” They are not ironic; they are actually angry at the thought of forgetting something that was such an affront to their honor….so horrible that 24 hours later they can’t even remember what it was (!) It’s a great rule because if you do remember 24 hours later, now you can talk it out with much less anger.
“I” Not “You.”
Whenever you want to help someone see the error of their ways, never do it with a “you” message; always try with an “I”: “Can we please change the subject? I am working on not gossiping.” as opposed to “I think what you just said was Lashon Hora (gossip).” “You” messages make a person defensive.
Take a Deep Breath (or 2 or 3)
When we are angry about something, it sets off the “flight or fight” part of our brain. Taking some slow “belly breaths” can calm or actually shut down that part of the brain.
“Would I rather be happy or right?”
It says in Pirkei Avot, Ethics of Our Fathers (from the Mishna, the Oral Torah): “The world stands on three things: Truth, Justice, and Peace.” When you are in a conflicted situation with someone, ask yourself, which is the one you are seeking? Although our initial emotional reaction might be truth or justice, most of the time, what we really, really want is peace. Now have that significant conversation….or not.