Keep the Peace

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We are so often driven by a profound desire to keep the peace.

That, alone, is neither good nor bad.

It’s the deeper motivator that determines whether it’s a sign of maturity, an abandonment of values, a descent into futility, a child of fear or the offspring of divine compassion.

Next time you feel the urge, before you act, ask this simple question…

“What’s my why?”

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17 responses

17 responses to “Keep the Peace”

  1. Penny says:

    An incredibly important awareness…

  2. I think keeping the peace has other mental descriptions in each of those circumstances :

    a sign of maturity — I got better things to worry about.
    an abandonment of values — I’ve been pushed around plenty. What’s one more thing.
    a descent into futility — &$*! it
    a child of fear — I’m &*!$ed if this doesn’t go through. Better shutup.
    offspring of divine compassion — They seem like they need the help.

  3. Shauna says:

    Timely… I just left my kitchen thinking of how little I consider my “why” before making decisions. Before making excuses. A perfect 30 second read.

  4. Stephanie says:

    I think it is possible to live with integrity and peace simultaneously. Peace doesn’t have to mean surrender. That said, it’s always good to think before we act.

  5. Nick Rapoport says:

    We are living in a rather peaceful time (for the first world populations of course) . So there is a tendency to believe that this is a natural state of the world. There is a rather naive attitude among some of the people (from this same first world) that peace is something that is needed to be kept at any price. Not a new attitude: remeber Nevil Chamberlain? However, just a cursory skim of history should be a rude awaking for this attitude. Treasure peace for the good that it is, but be prepared to defend yourself and others (friends weaker than you are) against the evil bastards that don’t share your respect for law and for human life. Sorry, this was a long winded agreement with the sentiment expressed above. Always ask why, and at what cost.

  6. The “Why” question: Too many of us respond with an itchy finger on a hairpin trigger. If our habit change to WHY first, perhaps we can respond more calmly, more deliberately.

  7. Robin Y says:

    There is an entire year’s philosophy class in this post and question. If you think that keeping the peace is just avoiding conflict then you fall into the Chamberlain trap mentioned in the comments. If you think it is remaining safe while all about you is in chaos then you have the ostrich syndrome and will be soon disabused of your idea of peace.

    We all want peace – which is to be left alone to live our lives as best we can, but at what price to the rest of the world?

    “All that is required for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing”.

    Which leads to the question above and the definition of your motive.

  8. Devin Kampert says:

    Your topic made me think of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. The first is an absence of trust which is then followed by a fear of conflict. It talks about how when we don’t engage in conflict, it will result in inferior decisions. When you think about any great relationship, there’s conflict which can create an absence of peace. It’s inevitable if you’re in any relationship that’s worth it’s salt.

    My pastor says, crisis is always current and there’s a lot of truth in that. To be able to take a more mature approach to the situation would be so helpful. Instead of always trying to avoid the difficult conversations for fear of an argument or being rejected, consider the alternative. How do we feel when those things go left unsaid, feelings are left to fester, and we try to act like everything is ok. It’s not and one day that artificial harmony will come crashing down and all you’re left with is a wall so high you can’t possibly get over it.

    If you look at the first dysfunction, trust, isn’t that at the heart of what’s happening. Without it, we don’t feel safe so we’re not going to open up fully and say what we’re really thinking. What if the opposite was true. If we trusted each other and there was this level of support and love that we never crossed, it would allow this exchange of real ideas and emotions that could define a relationship and create a peace like we’ve never known. When we’re able to engage in those kinds of conversations, there’s an incredibly strong bond that grows because walls aren’t being built, baggage isn’t weighing us down. When you’re in a relationship or community where that exists, then you’re able to have a peace that is independent of any circumstance because it’s centered on trust. I don’t know if any of this made sense or not but thanks for what you wrote.

  9. Jan says:

    Your lovely and thoughtful post just goes to show that brevity, indeed, can be the soul of wit. Or depth in this case. Great thoughts, Jonathan. I note, too, how compelling your tribe is with all its thoughtful and well-written comments above.

  10. Shikha says:

    The Hindu philosophy is known to chant “Om shantih shantih shantih” , shantih means peace. There are certain shantih mantras specifically dedicated to calling out for peace in and around cosmos.

    One other question that your readers could ask themselves might be – Why peace? 🙂 A little too tedious, but a highly rewarding exercise finding the why in peace.

  11. A good question to ask oneself. Keeping the peace can be a gift, or a slippery slope.

  12. David William thixton says:

    Peace is defined by conflict in the same way life is defined by death.
    Without the one we cannot appreciate the other.

  13. Steven Hall says:

    There is always some motivation behind a behavior. We are conditioned in our society to focus on behavior (eg. what I am eating) and never plumb the motivations. But exploring motivations leads to underlying beliefs and finding and changing limiting beliefs is the key to lasting inner change.

    World peace may not always be possible as long as there are people who live at the level of consciousness that includes greed and the need to take other’s power. Real world peace starts with inner peace, which is obviously an inside game not dependent upon what is going on around you. So, if you need it, you can always find inner peace.

    Perhaps what is more important that world peace is world truth and the conscious desire to raise our children to be thoughtful, responsible, and kind.

  14. Laura Neff says:

    YES! I was *just* talking with a client about this earlier today, mostly around the “child of fear” motivator you mention. That part of us often whispers, “Shhhh…it’s easier if you just stay quiet/back down/don’t push for what you know you need,” which is a TOTAL fear-based myth. Don’t believe it! It’s NOT easier to be silent/small/shut down. Not at ALL.

    Thanks for this, J. On. The. MONEY. xo

  15. I love this. And it makes me think–aren’t most things we do similar? Things like taking a risk, seeking love, accomplishing things, trying to be safe, taking it easy, pushing oneself, etc.

    Seems like asking why is good in almost any situation, since it’s the why that distinguishes habit and shortcuts from growth, learning, and being our best selves.

  16. Garret Hunt says:

    Great thoughts. I’ve never really thought of “Keeping the peace” as a type of abandonment, but it certainly can be. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  17. cale kenney says:

    The why question should be instead, “What do we hope to gain by adopting a peaceful demeanor, being kind, but not backing down.