It seems Brain Science can help us resolve our differences. Researchers are discovering just how wired we are to being loyal. Loyalty to groups helped humans survive. When we can see and honor that loyalty, everyone wins.
“Beyond Conflict” is an organization that helped South Africa transition after Apartheid. They now help other groups to move beyond the gridlock that “we-they” thinking can cause.
They have found that when we perceive something as threatening things we hold dearest, we become irrational and start to dehumanize and label our “enemies.” The compassion part of the brain shuts down, and the results can even lead to violence.
But there are certain phrases that calm the brain, allowing it to “breathe” rather than constrict in fear. Resolution phrasing such as, “I am seeing how important this is to you. I can understand this is core to your identity. I respect your values,” allows the receiver’s brain to relax, and sometimes to even reconsider their hard line views.
The 8 to Great process includes this phrasing, “So what I’m hearing you say is _______________. Did I get that? …Is there more?” We have heard from hundreds of readers who say, “That one skill saved my job/ saved my marriage.”
The remedy is clear: if a job or a marriage or a country can be saved, it will need to start with us.