As painful as it is to receive contempt from another, it is more debilitating by far to be filled with contempt toward another.– The Anatomy of Peace
This book was a fascinating read, diving deep into the cause of conflict and how to achieve peaceful resolution.
A fundamental aspect of this book is recognizing the difference between a heart at war vs at peace.
A heart at war
Have you ever betray your sense of “right”?
An example of this would be if you’re walking behind someone who drops their keys. You feel like you return them to the owner but instead you decide it’s too inconvenient and continue walking on.
As you reflect on the situation after the fact it usually leads to a dramatic characterizing of their actions in a negative light to justify why you didn’t take the correct action.
You’ll think “I can’t believe they were so careless to drop their keys, etc.”
A heart at war needs enemies to justify its warring – it needs enemies and mistreatment more than it wants peace.
The more sure I am mistreated the more likely I am to miss ways that I am mistreating others myself. My need for justification obscures the truth.
Other signs of heart at war is when you start to view others as objects, not people.
A heart at peace
A good step to establishing a heart at peace is to ask “Am I holding myself to the same standards I am demanding of others?” Humanizing people allows for a higher probability of conflict resolution.
The peace we hope for depends not on the peace we seek or the wars we wage but on the peace we establish inside.
Conflict resolution with others
A particularly interesting piece of insight form this book was that further correction rarely helps.
Effective agents of change are to 1) listen 2) learn 3) teach 4) help 5) build relationships
It’s unhelpful to insist others need to change while being unwilling to consider how we ourselves might need to change too.
If you need to change your heart state towards specific relationships know that improvement doesn’t have to be dependent on others.
No one, no matter their actions, can deprive you of the ability to choose your way of being.
This should bring you hope: this internal peace is only a choice away.
This is a worthwhile read and the self help philosophy is delicately woven between a historical fictional story that is quite creative.