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Conflicts of Interest

Everything you ever wanted to know about conflicts at home, at work, or in the neighborhood.

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The Body Politic

October 3rd, 2012 at Wed, 3rd, 2012 at 10:52 am by Vivian Scott

I haven’t written a blog post in a very long time and decided with the political season in full swing I was itching to say something.  But, I admit I was worried about how to share my opinion without offending the other side of the aisle and decided I didn’t have the energy to try.  Then, I saw this come across my desk and thought, “Why reinvent the wheel?  This is a great way to say what I’ve been thinking.”  So, freely admitting I lifted this from here’s a little something to think about.  They titled the piece, “It’s the Middle Things.”

We’ve had to do a whole lot of thinking about some of the political let’s-be kind-and-call-them-arguments we’ve come across this summer.  More than a few times, we scrolled through comments that were all diatribe and provocation until all we could do was snap at our computer screens: Stop it.  Stop it!!  Stop the insults, the abuse, the viciousness.  As you’d expect, nothing happened.

Finally, to our big relief (and kind of surprise), we settled into acceptance.  People will do what people will do, even if we think they ought to do something else. Then it occurred to us: maybe this is a kind of gift.  Maybe we’re supposed to lose it, go ballistic, be crazy judgmental, vengeful and awful.  Maybe we’ve got to see our lesser selves before we get the message – loud, clear and in no uncertain terms.  Our lesser selves are lesser in every way.

Our lesser selves are ugly and, as big and monster-like as we feel when we’re letting loose with them, they make us small. Our lesser selves are the parts of us we get to regret. They give us the chance to ask for forgiveness for doing and saying and thinking things that are really crappy.  Unfair.  Diminishing.  The whole experience of being our lesser selves is humbling.
Once we thought that, we forged on (because that’s just how we are) and wondered about our middle selves.

It’s hard, if not impossible, being our best selves all the time.  Okay, or most of the time.  We have so many things bugging us, so many people clearly asking for our opinion and judgment.  Why, after all, do they have to dress like that? Talk that way? Buy that stuff we’d never buy? Go there? Have that haircut? Read those books? Watch those movies? Laugh so loudly? Interrupt so often? Park that way, vote that way, believe that way?  Sigh.  Yes. There are so many people.  And that’s the point.  We don’t like believing it, but they’re figuring out stuff, too.  All the stuff we’re wrestling with? So are they.

Not everyone, you say drily. There are some real dopes out there and they’re not trying to do good, be good, grow or learn.   That might be true.  That might be not true (although it probably is).  Whichever it is, whatever those other people are doing, has got nothing to do with being our own best selves. (Told you we thought about this, looking for a loophole, wishing pretty hard there was one.)

It’s easy to snuggle into the middle, being our okay, not-too-bad selves.  The middle self is the optimal position. The middle self is accepted everywhere.

That’s all the reason we need for staying put, isn’t it? It’s the story most others recognize, that we recognize in others.  It’s the story that will get us sympathizers and allies and party invitations. (How many angels are known for their hilarious antics and withering sarcasm, hm?)

Let’s just be honest.  Being accepted is one thing.  Accepting the world and still imagining with all our heart and mind a brighter, beautiful future is something else.
That’s what we think today.  And you?

Vivian Scott is a Professional Certified Mediator with a private practice serving King and Snohomish Counties. She is the author of, "Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies" and a contributing author of "Thriving in the Workplace For Dummies" as well as "Managing All-in-One For Dummies" (Wiley Publishing). Ms. Scott is a Certified Mediator Member of the Washington Mediation Association and received their Outstanding Contributor Award in 2012. Her mediation cases range from assisting couples through divorce and parenting plans to creating new workplace environments for organizations of all sizes. You can learn more about Vivian by visiting her website at or

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