Wellness Pearls

25 April 2017

How to End a Civil War with Yourself

Whatever you are, be a good one.        Abraham Lincoln  

Are you stuck in a self-defeating pattern? When what you want and what you are doing are in conflict, you may be in Civil War with yourself. When a person is divided on itself, the harm is coming from within.   A Harvard researcher studied how civil wars end successfully, and offers wisdom we can apply to our own self-sabotage.  After examining 129 Civil wars that have taken place throughout the world since 1940, here is what she learned about how civil wars end, which is germane to human self-sabotage:

  • When civil wars end in a clear decisive victory, those nations experience faster peace, prosperity and an end to violence.
  • When wars end with negotiated settlements, on the other hand, the violence was halted only in the short -term, often erupting by the 2nd election.
  • The long-term analysis reveals that negotiated settlements tended to have continued outbursts of violence and less economic prosperity, leading to a greater likelihood of war and destruction.

To interrupt our own self destructive patterns, we can apply these findings to ourselves, for enduring peace and prosperity following a civil war.   To end our very own civil war with ourselves, we must call forth our highest selves to swiftly and decisively claim victory.  Only one side can win.  Half measures and compromise don’t lead to success.  A full surrender of the darkest part of ourselves that is not serving us is recommended.

4 Responses

  1. A

    Well stated. Especially, if you are involved with a dysfunctional & toxic family…the only way to win is to retreat & do not engage.
    Decide victory for yourself & disengage.

    1. Eileen O'Grady
      Eileen O'Grady

      HI YES ESPECIALLY with toxicity, it requires saving yourself and not getting pulled in. Glad to hear from you.

  2. Mary Stein

    Thanks, Eileen, for your wonderful Wellness Pearls! You always make me stop and think, and I so appreciate your insights and guidance on such important themes.

    Your most recent Wellness Pearl rings true for me, and I especially appreciate your above exchange regarding toxic families. It hurts not to be close, but it’s far worse when I try to engage with some of these relatives and continue to get hurt. Thankfully, there are a few who are nurturing and supportive, and I’ve formed my own family of friends with whom I don’t have to negotiate and compromise!

    Please continue to remind us how to take care of ourselves and those we love by being open and present! It’s so hard, but the rewards of wellness are worth it!

    1. Eileen O'Grady
      Eileen O'Grady

      Thank you Mary- I had in mind that civil war was with ourselves… based on our own self-defeating behaviors but engaging in relationships with those who have no capacity to reciprocate, and those who drain us (emotional vampires) or who cant even show kindness, require decisive action. I think there are many many people who experience this, myself included.

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