The Anatomy of Peace

This is a brief introduction to a few concepts as they are presented in “The Anatomy of Peace”, a book by the Arbinger Institute which I highly recommend to everyone.

The book is a quick read, its simplistic story-telling fashion making it accessible to everyone and easy to understand. This may sound corny, but this book will change your life, that is, of course, if you choose to apply its concepts. It brings a fresh perspective on human relationships and has no choice but to bring you a higher sense of self-awareness. Its concepts apply to everyone and are not faith-based.

The basic premise is whether your heart is at peace or whether your heart is at war, in our interactions with others. “The Anatomy of Peace” enables us to truly grasp the importance of being aware of our behavior in reaction to others. Do you feel entitled and see the world as unfair? Do you see yourself as right and others as incompetent? Do you want people to see that you are a good person? or do you see others as privileged and advantaged, leaving you feeling helpless and even bitter or depressed at times? Those are the “boxes”…

According to the authors, we all find ourselves in one or many of these “boxes” at one moment or another. Through these boxes, the book provides a simple explanation on how and why we feel the need to justify the way we are acting, or the words we are saying. By acknowledging the box, we identify what our general feelings are in a given situation, and from there we can better understand (and eventually correct or avoid) how we view ourselves, others, and the world at that particular moment.

In short, when we are in the box, the authors are telling us that our heart is at war. Our interaction with others are therefore reduced to transactions, viewing the other person as an object, a chore or something we have to deal with, rather than building meaningful relationships. The goal of this book is to help us know and become more aware of when we are in a box by providing us with the tools to help us get out and stay out of it.

“Every time we choose to pull away from and blame another, we necessarily feel justified in doing so, and we start to plaster together a box of self-justification, the walls getting thicker and thicker over time. […] Whether we find justification in how we are worse or in how we are better, we can each find our way to a place where we have no need for justification at all. We can find our way to peace—deep, lasting, authentic peace—even when war is breaking out around us. […] See where you might be inviting in others the very behavior you are complaining about. Ponder what boxes might be behind your reactions in those situations. Try to figure out what self-justifications you are defending. […] Because your despair is being invited by another lie. You’re assuming that nothing you can do will change them. […] While it’s true we can’t make others change, we can invite them to change.”

Unfortunately, I cannot start to explain everything here, but I invite you to read “The Anatomy of Peace”. I believe you may find out more about yourself, and realize the way you have been acting with other people, than at any other point in your life. Only by knowing where you are can you start moving forward. I wish you happiness.


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