There are ways to keep hostile forces at bay and prevent them from controlling your lives. Here are some tips.
Life is full of challenges and there are times when a human being faces hostilities in all walks of life — from homes to workplaces to schools and colleges. Sometimes, people confront you because of certain misunderstandings and exaggerations but then there are times when you face your real enemies- they can also be psychopaths.
While facing real or imaginary hostilities, human beings tend to get angry and want to defend themselves and their interests. But acting without the careful examination of events, could see one end up dealing with immense suffering and pain.
Modern experts, like Preston Ni, a writer and a life coach, think that people could find better ways to deal with hostilities if they were able to analyse their working and living environments fairly and effectively.
Ni observes that “with astute approach and assertive communication, you may turn aggression into cooperation, and coercion into respect.” If people are able to understand both their own interests and their counterparts’ positions in regard to different issues, they will be equipped to deal with potential hostilities in much better terms, Ni says.
But no matter what kind of confrontations people face and how much they understand their own situations, one needs to act methodically to deal with hostilities, applying different tactics, ranging from keeping a safe distance from troubles to avoiding escalation, according to Ni.
“Regardless of the reason, it’s important to respond proactively and effectively when your rights, interests and safety are at stake,” Ni said.
You might deal with a reckless driver or an unsympathetic boss or a random stalker. Be aware of what's happening around you and if necessary apply a rational distance, avoiding “engagement unless you absolutely have to”, says Ni. This advice could particularly be much more valuable these days under the pandemic.
Also, if you feel you could respond to a potential conflict later more profoundly, you could choose to de-escalate tensions rather than becoming more confrontational towards your counterparts, suggests the life coach, who wrote books like How to Successfully Handle Aggressive, Intimidating, and Controlling People and How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People.
Like modern coaches and psychologists, some prominent founders of the world's religions also strongly advise cooling-off to deal with hostilities. Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, advised his followers to be silent when they are angry in order to deal with hostile forces.
“If one of you got angry while standing then sit down, or if sitting down then lay down. If anger does not go away then do Wudu [a religious ritual of washing parts of the human body],” the prophet said.
De-escalating tensions does not mean surrendering your rights to your counterparts. It might help you gain time and space to understand your rights better and give you a proper picture of which objectives could be achievable and which ones are not.
In addition to that, when you are able to control your emotions, you could act much more “professionally” and proactive ways, learning to defend yourself with proper means, which is one of the most crucial skills to deal with hostilities, according to experts.
‘Know your enemy’: a powerful strategy
Much of modern expertise on conflict management is based on ancient wisdom.
‘Know yourself’ is ancient advice to those who are troubled in life to make sense of things in better ways. If you understand your character flaws and behavioural deficits, you might conduct your life much more sophisticatedly than acting with base temptations and instincts.
But knowing your potential opponents and being conscious of hostile acts around us are also important aspects of people’s lives to move forward in better directions, according to experts from ancient times to the modern era.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles,” said Sun Tzu, a Chinese writer and philosopher, in The Art of War, an ancient book on military strategy, which is attributed to him. Sun Tzu was also a distinguished general and strategist.
“If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle,” warned Sun Tzu. Many centuries later, almost every other strategist agrees with the Chinese thinker’s assertions without much reservation.
In the modern age, despite the removal of many obstacles in daily life, from transportation to communication, as well as easy access to essential sources of food and clothing, we are still fighting many battles every day in traffic jams, offices and homes to control the direction of our lives.
As a result, Sun Tzu’s analysis is still applicable for various reasons in our modern daily lives. If you could develop a good understanding of your opponents, you could also develop empathy towards them. With your genuine understanding and through good communication, you might diminish their opposition as Ni suggested.
“The point is to remind yourself that most chronically confrontational and hostile people suffer within, and mindfulness of their struggles can help you handle them with more detachment and equanimity,” Ni noted.
In the end, the whole process of dealing with hostilities could not only be beneficial to us, but also to counterparts, too.