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What Are Five Lessons from the First 100 (+/-) Days?

What Are Five Lessons from the First 100 Days? by Ada Hasloecher{3:48 minutes to read}

Without getting into politics—and I know it’s difficult not to these days—the purpose of my article is to see the macrocosm of our current governmental divisions and compare it to the microcosm of the negotiations that couples engage in when mediating.

In watching the continued stalemates in Washington unfold, I was inspired to share some thoughts that have held my clients in good stead during their mediations—with some coaching from their mediator, of course!

These five lessons go hand-in-hand, overlap, and integrate with one another:

  1. Don’t denigrate your opponent:
    • Your mother was right. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Blaming, yelling at, and humiliating your opponent won’t get you anywhere close to your goal. It just doesn’t work.
    • Find a way to respect the other point of view, and that may help you respect the one who holds it. You don’t have to necessarily agree with their perspective, but listen carefully and try to understand it without vilifying them.
  2. Take responsibility and ownership of your actions:
    • It just can’t be all those “thems” out there that are always doing it to you. Did you ever notice when your life is messed up, you are always there? Right. Maybe, just maybe, you have something to do with it.
    • Own it and take responsibility. There may even be an apology in there somewhere, and that can go a long way to disarming the situation. No one is right all the time, and it’s burdensome to take on that mantle. Let it go and see what happens.
  3. Pick your battles:
    • Not every issue bears the same weight. Some things are really, really important and others are not. Figure out which is which and put your intention behind the ones that matter most to you. When we fight with the same fervor for everything, it dilutes the things that truly matter.
  4. Not every battle is a war:
    • You’ve heard the expression: “They won the battle but lost the war.” First of all, divorce is not a war. Trust me. You are still going to be a family and, if you go for a “scorched earth” scenario, everyone loses, especially your children. When you demean and eviscerate your spouse, what kind of parent are you leaving for your children? Think about what you’re doing and the long-term impact of your actions.
  5. Compromise is NOT a dirty word:
    • We’re all adults here, and I think at this point in our lives we’ve figured out that no one gets everything he/she wants. Let’s face it. Listening for common ground and building on that is the way to go.
    • When we take the position that “it’s my way or the highway”…well, good luck with that. In a negotiation, the expression “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” is apt in more ways than one, especially where your children are concerned. Bend a little; it won’t kill you.

Confucius said: “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”

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Ada L. Hasloecher

Divorce Mediator / Center Founder
Divorce & Family Mediation Center, LLC
Phone: 631-585-5210
eMail: Info@DFMCLI.com
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