Friendliness - an infinite source
Once again we just mediated with a large team. More than twenty people came together to come to an understanding about different perspectives and ways of working. Or perhaps not an understanding? Did they just want us to be there to give them a voice so that they could be heard and to support their own views of their conflict. Sometimes this is what people want from mediators.
We see our job in helping people to listen to each other. Sometimes that can be done, sometimes it is difficult.
What is really needed is a little friendliness on both sides. Friendliness is one of the infinite sources that everybody has, but which all to often seems to be blocked. It is an infinite source because it never dries up. Friendliness doesn't diminish when we draw from this source. On the contrary we are needed to spread friendliness in our world.
It's easy to be friendly to those people who make it easy for us. It is more difficult to be friendly at work when something is expected or demanded of us that we cannot accept. Friendliness is quickly forgotten.
And yet, in difficult situations it can help to be friendly towards my partner, my boss or my colleague and to talk about different views. It also helps to focus on common ground instead of difference.
We store unfriendliness inside of us; it makes our lives harder. You can ask yourself: Is a solution easier when I am unfriendly? In most cases the answer will be no. It is more rewarding to look for common ground amicably. When we can see what we share then it is easier to find solutions - even in difficult situations.
Try it out, it is worth it.