Mar 28, 2011
I'm Just Trying to Make Everyone Happy
Someone once told me I should have chosen mediation as a profession. I took it as a compliment. I like it when everyone gets along. I often find myself in the middle trying to get two opposing sides to reach a solution that is workable for both parties. This came in handy back when I was settling fights between my children. These days I use this talent most often at work. Although it can come in handy when trying to get my family to all agree on what restaurant we're going to eat at.
I'm not much for psycho-analyzing everything. I usually have no interest in trying to figure out why I am the way I am. But this one I do have figured out. My Dad had a very short temper, (he's mellower these days). He wasn't cruel or abusive. He just went from calm to raging in seconds flat if something set him off. Sometimes small, insignificant things set him off. I coped with this in two ways. I always tried to make everyone laugh because if you're laughing you can't yell and be angry. Stage two if the humor thing wasn't working and things got tense - calm things down by adding perspective, by reasoning - mediate.
The key to successful mediation is to get people to see someone else's perspective. This is challenging when ego or selfishness gets in the way. Stupid people offer their own challenges to the process. Focus being their biggest hurdle. It's all worth the challenge though. There's nothing more satisfying than averting disaster and having everybody walk away feeling as if they got at least part of what they were hoping for. Not necessarily winners but not losers either. Workable.
Being a mediator, a peacemaker, has its down side. The fact that I desire harmony leads people to believe that I won't take a stand. They think I'm a pushover or that I'm afraid of confrontation. It's not true. I won't be backed into a corner or bullied. I won't stand by and watch other people be mistreated. I won't nod and agree that something harmful or stupid or immoral is the right thing to do. Underestimate me at your own peril. :-) That sounds more ominous than I meant it to so I added a smiley face.