Arguments. Disagreements. Disputes.
Or perhaps with a bit of floor polish: contretemps.
They have happened every day among friends, lovers, relatives, spouses and business associates since the beginning of time. Must this state of affairs continue unabridged, accepted as the cost of getting up in the morning, as inevitable as stale bread? Or can people learn to read problems in light of the bigger picture by considering the brevity of life and how genuinely good it feels to be generous, to be forgiving, to be proactive in righting the mistakes that each of us inevitably make? Does the ego really need to hold sway as some sort of unchecked emotional dictatorship?
This is not some idealistic pontification, but a mindset of moving forward positively. The longer that the sandpaper of conflict is allowed to grind, the harder it is to ultimately address the resulting roughness. Making a firm decision for resolutions opens up a kaleidoscope of possible solutions. Conversely, digging in with the flexibility of cement leads to fractures and concussions. This is hardly to suggest passively bearing the brunt of unfairness or loss. If abused, we have municipal and supreme courts to address obstacles, police to deal with immediate squabbles.
Yet looking beyond the last possible penny, most of us possess an inborn sense of right and wrong. Admitting mistakes, righting those wrongs, offers a liberating freedom unfettered by the ugly restraints of self-centered behavior. You’ve inadvertently made a lane change without seeing the car to your left; admitting fault and expressing genuine regret literally closes the matter and facilitates the insurance settlement. You were unable to meet a work deadline despite best efforts; coming forward without excuse—coupled with a simultaneous determination to do whatever it takes to fix—cannot help but engender respect. Come up with a hundred different examples and the results are unsurprisingly similar. Provided that the neglect or irresponsible behavior is not deliberate (if so, the consequences will surely reign tomorrow if not today), there are almost always ways to right mistakes, the sooner the better.
Regardless of one’s religious beliefs or lack thereof, Pope Francis’ recent remarks before Congress offered a straightforward, nondenominational guide to resolving interpersonal and business conflict. One paragraph among many: “Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. We must move forward, however, as one in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.”
Moving forward. Righting wrongs. Maintaining commitments. Cooperating generously. Read and embrace these words, then marvel at the simultaneous decline of heart attacks and lawsuits.