On being unconditionally constructive

picture of rose-in-handThe bible of interest-based conflict resolution may be well be Fisher, Ury & Patton’s book, Getting to Yes.  I’d be surprised if there is a mediator (Western world, anyways) who is not familiar with it.

At the heart of Getting to Yes is the message: be unconditionally constructive when it comes to negotiating resolution to conflict; do only those things that are both good for the relationship and good for us, whether or not they reciprocate.

Unconditionally constructive living

Resolving conflict is just one context for being unconditionally constructive.  Over time, I’ve come to think of the unconditionally constructive strategy as being much more.  It’s a way of thinking that can be applied in many subtle ways, as we roll on down the highway of daily living.

How about being unconditionally constructive when it comes to:

  • Compassion; living the golden rule, treating others as you would wish to be treated yourself, is good for us, offers us a way to curb our harmful impulses and desires, AND acknowledges our shared humanity, Karen Armstrong shows us the way in Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
  • Collaboration; believing in your contribution AND respecting and valuing others contributions, 1 + 1 > 2
  • Appreciation; maybe our strongest psychological need how about being appreciative AND without reciprocation in mind grandmothers show us the way
  • Bids for Connection; doing all those little things, the please, thanks, great stuff, focusing on those seemingly small, positive things, the Magic Relationship Ratio, that speak to your better nature AND strengthens your connection with another
  • Love; finding ways to adapt, keep your inner motivation AND nurture the relationship at the same time, through thick and thin; e.g., as Diane Ackerman did when her husband suffered a massive stroke, and which she wrote about in One Hundred Names for Love: A stroke, A marriage, and the language of healing

And do it on the sly

Do three good, positive things each day and don’t tell others about it, suggests Byron Katie, a spiritual psychologist who offers a tough-love approach to “dealing with your inner confusion”.  You are what you do.


Where do you apply the unconditionally constructive approach?

Leave a comment.

[Photo credit: pinksherbert on Flickr]

Speak Your Mind