The holidays are here! What that means is meeting people you may not have seen for a while, some you’re particularly excited to see, and some you’re not particularly a fan of. Either way, it is never bad to end the year by spending the happiest and most peaceful holiday season conflict-free. In this episode, Victoria Wieck helps you have conflict-free relationships not only for this end of the year but for life. She shares her personal experience navigating through her own relationships and imparts some strategies to help you with your own. If you want to learn more about how to cultivate peaceful relationships, tune in!
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Conflict-Free: How To Have Peaceful Relationships
I hope you are enjoying the holidays this 2021. It’s a little different than 2020. I have to make a little confession. For the holidays, if you are in retail in the fourth quarter, it can be very stressful from work, employee relations, customer relations, delivery, supply, all those things come into play. On top of that, you look forward to having that incredible Christmas season but at the same time, I have always had some issues with having that perfect holiday season.
When you have a lot of people getting together, different opinions, different things you want to eat, what time you want to eat, all these things come into play. I thought I would do a short series. I don’t want it to be a lecture and be a real big thing. A short series on how I was able to accomplish a truly joyous holiday season and live a relatively conflict-free living life.
Always live your life with gratitude.
When you want to have conflict-free living, you have the pillars of your life. You have your personal relationships with your family and very close friends. You have your business relationships with your customers and also employees. I’m going to tackle one issue at a time each week. I also want to let you know that I’m not approaching this issue with personal conflict or anything like that from a clinical point of view. I don’t have a Psychology degree. I have taken some courses in it but that’s not where I’m coming from. It’s more on an emotional level. Let’s get started.
Some of the things that I’m going to go about have happened to me, and it’s taken me many years to get to the point where I could be talking about this very freely and where I feel I could help other people as well. Number one thing, always live your life with gratitude. When you do that, then some of the things that are unpleasant, that people saying some stuff that you don’t want to hear, all of that comes with a little silver lining. Always live your life with gratitude, no matter what. There is always something to be grateful for.
I saw something. I don’t have the whole thing here. It’s not my original thought but it’s worth repeating. Somebody posted, “How to be grateful?” She was looking at lots of dishes in the sink for the fourth time that week. She was wondering how come no one was cleaning the dishes out. Why does she have to come home and think about all the dishes before she starts cooking? She then reminded herself to be thankful because she had food to eat.
When you think about clutter in your closet and your home, clothes, toys are all over the floor, and you wonder why the kids can pick them up. She also says she had to be reminded to be thankful because you have money to buy them. You have an abundance of that. Working too hard at work, you come home exhausted, and then the same thing goes on over and over again at work. It can get down on you, especially at Christmas time. She says, “Be thankful that you have customers and colleagues who value the work that you are needed there.” The post went on about all the things you should be thankful for.
That was a good message. I want to give you a quick example of how that relates to me. When we first came to America, we had no money. My parents had maybe $30 in their pocket. Even way back then, $30 doesn’t go very far for a family of seven. We didn’t speak any English. I had to learn how to draw to talk to my teachers and my friends. To go to the bathroom, I had to draw a toilet out.
I can draw almost anything super fast. Those drawing skills that I had to learn that I didn’t know I had in me, for the first six months or so of my life here, eventually became a key or critical part of my success. That’s what I ended up doing, designing jewelry for a living. The point is that with every challenge that you have, there is a silver lining.
For me, I have learned to think that the bigger the challenge, obstacle, and problem that you are facing, the bigger the gift. It’s up to you to find the gift. I love having that perspective in my life because it gets me grounded. I don’t get resentful when sometimes things get bad and when it feels like everybody has everything but you don’t have what you deserve. Being grateful is an important thing.
The second advice that I have or something that has helped me is to know the situations that you can change if you work hard and know the situations you can’t change. In other words, know which conflicts are healthy and worth saving, even if it takes a lot of work on your part or if it’s unpleasant. Also, know which conflicts are toxic and which are not worth saving.
The more you get involved in a conversation with someone toxic, who’s hell-bent on making sure that everybody else around him is miserable, you don’t want to have anything to do with that. You don’t have to save every conflict and relationship. When you say something is not worth saving, you don’t even have to be unpleasant about it. You can remove yourself from the situation.
When somebody close to you devastates you with their actions, you can’t undo their actions because those people that are close to you, you can count on them. They refused to take even a simple phone call because they heard a lie about you or something like that. They hurt you so bad that you can’t on them ever again. In those situations, you can remove yourself from that. Get away from the situation that’s causing you pain and confusion.
No matter what the cost or how painful it is, always do the right thing.
Sometimes having a little bit of clarity, distance, and time can give you a better perspective and context. I like to do that. I’m not a confrontational person. I don’t like conflict. I didn’t always have the courage to say, “No, this is not okay. You don’t have a right to say this.” I always would remove myself. I still continue to do that most of the time because it’s easier for me. I’m still working on that because sometimes you need to make sure that people who are hurting, not only you but other people, with their words. Sometimes words can hurt more. I’m working on that myself.
The last thing, my mother-in-law passed away in 2021. She passed away at age 100. I miss her a lot. There are so many things about her that we love but the one thing that everybody who knew her would say about her is that she always did the right thing. She lived 100 years old. Trust me. She had a lot of conflicts, difficult times, and times when she could have bent on moral values by a smidgen.
She lived a simple life. No matter what the cause and how painful it was, she always did the right thing. When you do that, what happens is things start to happen for you. You live a clear life with a clear conscience. I say that because a lot of times in business or even in personal relationships, somebody might say something bad about another person, and you know that’s not right. I don’t want to hear anybody talk bad about anybody else to me that I don’t know.
My mother-in-law would say something like, “That’s interesting but would it be possible for you to not tell me about it because I don’t know this person?” I didn’t have that courage. In 2021, I’m going to make a concerted effort to have some courage because it takes courage to do the right thing sometimes, especially when you feel it’s not your issue. It’s them against them or maybe you think it doesn’t impact you. Even though you are witnessing something clearly wrong, you can walk away from that situation because you weren’t involved and causing any pain for anybody else.
One of my problems is that I get along pretty well with everybody but a lot of people that I know don’t get along with each other and they come to me for advice. I decided in 2020, I didn’t want to have anything to do with any of it because it’s not productive for them and me. The most productive thing they could do is talk to each other and work it out. Always do the right thing. It’s always doing whatever you can do because then you can live a consciously and honest life that’s conflict-free and you can be happier.
I walked away from a lot of those relationships. Some of them, I wouldn’t say I walked away. They walked away from me because I was not socializing. It’s great because you don’t have to create a big scene or do anything like that. It’s so much better that way for you to have a clear conscience and don’t have any fake relationships, just great authentic relationships that matter to you, your children and your family.
The other thing I’m going to talk about is all the conflicts that we deal with. I deal with conflict, about things like conflict for oil. There were a lot of conflicts all around us but the most difficult thing out there is to deal with personal conflicts with your extended family or people close to you. As we grow older, we all have different opinions on things.
My family, for example, we have animal activists and animal hunters. People hunt and eat it. We have vegans, Buddhists, Christians, atheists. You name it. We’ve got everybody. Sometimes dialogues can be very heated. Even things like what we serve at Thanksgiving or Christmas become a real issue. I say this because I have the Korean and Norwegian sides of the family, and then they all married different people. It can be challenging but this is why I’m having this. Many of you are in this situation where your holidays are beautiful but laced with a little bit of sadness or a little bit of, “I wish this could be that.”
I confess I don’t eat meat but I attended Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, all of these events not just in my family but also elsewhere. I have traveled everywhere. I have had to spend some time outside of the country. I went with the flow but in 2021, I decided to be firm about what I need of the holidays and how I can serve other people by being happy, honest and transparent.
When COVID 19 happened, a lot of my priorities, my way of thinking, the happier me, the more honest me, the real me, not one that compromises all the time for the sake of everybody else but I’m unhappy, can serve other people better. Believe it or not, everyone around me has respected that. We are having a great second run at some of these relationships, which is fabulous.
My old church at Bel Air Presbyterian had what they call a Blue Holiday Workshop. This was specifically done for people who lost one to death or sometimes they’ve got through a nasty divorce and don’t have their kids or spouse with them for the first time. Maybe they were shunned by their family because they were Christians and their family celebrated some other religions. Some of the things they teach you is to embrace the holiday season, no matter what their circumstances, because this is the season of forgiveness, kindness, and serving other people.
Remember, it’s the season when you are supposed to celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. For those of you who celebrate Hanukkah, you have other beautiful reasons to celebrate this season. To recap this whole episode, number one, decide which relationships are worth saving and the ones that require some work on your part, be willing to do that. Go all in. Those relationships that are worth saving are not that many but it requires a lot of work. When you go through that, it will be worth it.
Figure out which relationships are not worth saving because those could be very difficult. When you choose not to save those relationships, you can still forgive the person for being wrong on issues or hurting you, or this was a divorce case where they took the kids. Make sure that you find a way to forgive that person. That’s different than forgetting.
Forgive because you deserve to live a life free of judgment.
I’m not saying that you should forgive and go back to life as usual but forgive that person, not because they deserve it, in most cases, they don’t deserve it but you deserve to live a life free of judgment, hate, grudges, and all of the negativity. You deserve to live a life that’s whole and surrounded with love, kindness and optimism. I know it’s hard but you will find a way to forgive the person but never forget because some of the actions that hurt you can never be undone.
I hope this has been helpful. It has been some of my own experiences. As you can imagine, coming here as an immigrant from a different country with different cultures. We eat very different things at our Thanksgiving. We celebrate our different days. We have different rituals and all of that. There have been a lot of conflicts all of my life, and I have had to come up with ways to cope with that and not make enemies of friends. I hope this has been helpful, something that is not clinical.
Everybody has their own coping mechanism. That was my coping mechanism. It has been helpful for me. I hope all of you take the time to be grateful and count all your blessings. My husband said that he had read somewhere that a person who didn’t have any shoes was complaining about how he didn’t have any shoes until he met someone who didn’t have any feet. It’s not funny but it is true that there is always somebody worse off than you.
Be grateful, count your blessings, and look for that gift that’s wrapped in your challenges. I wish you a wonderful holiday season. I will be doing another series on living a conflict-free life in terms of your business and relationships. Until then, please stay healthy and happy. Remember, happiness is a choice. I hope you make great choices. Thank you.
About Victoria Wieck
Victoria grew up in a sleepy coastal village in South Korea, surrounded by abundant natural beauty. One of her favorite activities was to watch the stunning sunset from her home, wondering what lay beyond the horizon. She would ask her mother endless questions about the world outside of her small town. Her mother read her stories and taught her how to read, but her curiosity knew no bounds. In school, she excelled in reading, writing, and art.