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3 Smart & Effective Ways To Diffuse Political Conflicts

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Sunday, October 30, 2022

An outright culture war between the liberal left and conservative right has been brewing for decades. It has never been worse than it is today. Both sides have contempt for each other and have no interest in at least understanding the other "evil" side. Families have been torn apart and friendships ended. Below is a possible solution by Daniel Shapiro, Ph.D. He is the head of Harvard’s International Negotiation program and author of Negotiating the Nonnegotiable: How to Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts. He is a world-renowned expert on negotiation and conflict resolution. He has worked with business executives, hostage negotiators and world leaders.  

"What I've found is that there are three big barriers that we can actually overcome to have more effective conversations. The big things, one, identity, two, appreciation, and three, affiliation. 

"Let's start with identity. Now, first of all, this is a hot issue. Why do we get so emotional in these conflict situations? It often goes back to something deeper: identity. What are the core values, the core beliefs that are feeling threatened inside of you as you're having that conversation with the other side? The moment your identity gets hooked in these conflicts, all of a sudden, your emotions become a hundred times more powerful. Boy, this is a wholly different conflict now. 

"It's now your pride. Your sense of self is on the line. You need to know who you are and what you stand for. What are the values and beliefs that are driving me to fight for this stance on this issue? The more you understand who you are, the more you can try to get your purpose met and stay balanced, even when the other threatens those core values and beliefs. 

"Each side wants to feel appreciated, and yet the last thing they wanna do is to appreciate the other side. That's a problem. Listen and understand. When you're in the midst of the conflict, don't talk. Take the first 10 minutes. Consciously listen to the other side. What's the value behind their perspective? What's the logic, the rationale? Why do they hold this perspective on immigration or healthcare? 

"Once you truly understand and see the value in their perspective, let them know I hear where you're coming from, and you know what? That makes sense. There is nothing more in the world that we like than to feel appreciated. Recognize your power to appreciate them. 

"Third, affiliation. What's the emotional connection like between you and the other side? We typically approach these conflict situations as me versus you. My opinion on healthcare versus yours, my party's perspectives on immigration versus yours. That's just gonna leave the two of you like rams butting heads. 

"Find common ground. Turn that other person from an adversary into a partner, so it's no longer me versus you, but the two of us facing the same shared problem. Ask the other person, 'Look, what's your advice on how we can get as many of our interests met at the same time?' Change the nature of your conversation. 

"Now, you put these three things into practice, it can transform your relationships. Imagine what would happen if we started a revolution, but a positive revolution of greater understanding, greater appreciation, greater affiliation, how we could transform politics, how we could transform our country and ultimately our world. I believe it's possible, but it starts with each one of us." 

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Photo: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/bipartisan-chris-van-es.html 

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.


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