Government Shutdown: What our Divorce Clients Can Teach our Government
In the past few days I have been searching the internet and news programs for any sign of progress in this government shutdown mess. As a professional who has dealt with divorcing couples for 18 years, I see many familiar patterns between the governing parties and divorcing parties.
Here are the common threads of negative thoughts:
- Their conversations mostly often involve demonizing the other party
- Their primal instincts tell them that their “survival” depends on the other’s “downfall”
- They each have their voter base, friends and family reinforcing these combative notions
- They feel justified in abandoning their own integrity to undermine the other
- They state that their citizens and children are their most important concern but they act in a way that continues to bring irreversible harm to them.
- Those that depend on them are powerless to stop their irreversible harm
- Nobody wins and everybody looses
Here is what the government can learn from our wise divorce mediation clients:
- There are no good and bad people; only (mostly) good people in bad situations
- Mutual survival is best for everyone; especially true for dependent children and citizens
- Those who are standing in your “corner” don’t have a view of the big picture
- Holding your integrity and being respectful will bring about the best solutions now and in the long term
- “Do no harm” is the only true way to honor our commitment to those who depend on us
- Feeling real compassion for those who depend on us will lead us to act in their best interest
- Everybody gains from cooperative solutions
Although I don’t expect Obama or Boehner to knock on my door any time soon, I do hope they find a way to wisdom. Our divorce mediation clients have a lot to teach them about navigating conflict.