A while back, this picture was floating around several social media platforms. We all had a good laugh over it and promptly moved on. However, it got me thinking, and I realized the picture; while amusing, holds a great truth. Dispute Resolution Practitioners often find themselves in situations that test their patience and conflict resolution skills, and sometimes, they fail to put those skills to use.
I have found that it is rather easy to give advice and a tad more challenging to take this advice yourself. I found myself in this predicament recently; let me tell you a story.
A colleague made a negative comment about my work which I found offensive. It made me incredibly angry; thinking back now, I believe it is safe to say it made me unreasonably angry. While I was fuming, I narrated this “ordeal” to one of my bosses, who advised me to take the comment as constructive criticism and move on. I refused to move on. I let myself stew in that anger for quite some time.
My boss had finally had enough of my attitude and gave me quite the scolding. At the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC), we teach two (2) fundamental principles of human relations- “No one can make you angry without your consent” and “You have no control over what people say or do, but you have control of your response.” He reminded me that as Mediators and Trainers of Mediation Skills, we teach this to our participants and must live it as well.
I admit I was somewhat embarrassed after that wake-up call. But it taught me an invaluable lesson- Mediation skills are genuinely life skills.
By undergoing Mediation Skills training, we have done ourselves an excellent service by equipping ourselves with much-needed communication, human relations, and dispute resolution skills. As certified Mediators, we must hone these newly acquired skills and put them to use in our everyday lives.
I have come to understand that it is not enough to call your self a Dispute Resolution practitioner; you have to show people, and yourself, that you are a Dispute Resolution Practitioner. Ever since that incident, whenever I am faced with a situation that tests my patience, I take a deep breath and remind myself that I am a Mediator and I must practice what I preach.
Learn to imbibe your Mediation skills. Honing your Mediation skills improves your personal lives and your interactions with your family, friends, and colleagues, which by extension helps you fulfill your mandate of peacemaking.