Yesterday, I received a letter from my neighbor, that explained (and I am paraphrasing) that because of the proximity of our neighbor's bedroom and my kitchen, being right next to each other in the apartment block, and because my neighbor likes to open their window during the summer, that I should stop washing dishes and stop using my blender between the hours of 11 pm and 7:15 am during weekdays and between 11 pm and 8 am during weekends.
Now, there are a number of things to consider with this:
1) I don't wash dishes between those hours.
2) I don't have a blender.
3) My neighbor is probably unaware of points 1) and 2).
But why this letter irked me was because my neighbor had the audacity to write a letter that suggested that I had to do as my neighbor said, that I had to conform to my neighbor's values, as if life were only about my neighbor and not about everyone, and not about working together to help each other out.
And in a way, this is why we have conflict in the world.
When we have many who try to control or manipulate others to conform to their value we get into conflict with each other, especially when many have opposing views.
And what makes this worse is there is no right nor wrong way to live life. The right way and the wrong way to live life can only ever be subjective because life can only be experienced subjectively. So, there isn't a right way nor a wrong way to live life.
And so, we get these conflicts where one tries to control or manipulate others with the belief that they are right and the other is wrong, which doesn't serve either, and only every creates conflict.
We may see this in politics, business, the media, religion, local communities, all walks of life.
But just raising this issue is not enough. There should be a solution to this, otherwise, this blog is just complaining and that doesn't serve anyone either.
So, what can we do about this? What can we do about conflict?
And my answer would be to grow and give.
See, when we grow and give, we're able to inspire those around us to do the same. And as inspiration spreads, we'll make a positive and sustainable impact and nullify all conflict.
It really is that simple.
I can't control how my neighbor behaves. But I am responsible for how I react. And even though I didn't do anything wrong, at least from my point of view, the best solution I could come up with is to help my neighbor realize what is causing the noise that they believe they're hearing and give them advice as to what they could do about it.
This is growing and giving. I'm growing by learning from this experience and I'm giving by giving my neighbor advice and sharing what I've learned from this experience with you.
And my neighbor might not take my advice and continue to blame me for the noise. That's their decision. And that's also their loss because they're closing themselves off to growing and giving, to taking responsibility and growing their fulfillment in their life.
I'm deciding to grow and give.
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