About Me

Meredith Richardson, Esq., is a conflict management specialist.  She works as a Mediator, Facilitator, Trainer, Conflict Coach, and Collaborative Lawyer in Maine and New Hampshire.  Follow her on facebook as Meredith Mediates: http://www.facebook.com/MeredithMediates.  To receive monthly tips on conflict and upcoming events and retreats, email her at meredithmediates@aol.com.

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It's the negative judgments that get us into trouble.

It's been a long time since I blogged!

I'm not sure what happened.  I think that between writing a recent article for the NH Bar News, putting the finishing touches on a corporate training, and writing a presentation I'll be giving for NHCRA (the NH Conflict Resolution Assocation) in December, I may have run out of things to write, at least in the moment.

It may also be that I spent a fabulous week on vacation in New Orleans this month, which meant that my vacation provided no inspirational conflict stories.

My apologies.

I could go home and stir the pot with my husband, looking for trouble (and something to write), but I'd rather wait and let that conflict happen organically.

Today, let me just tell you a story.

I was having a conversation with a friend about another person who is an acquaintance.  We started off talking about some behaviors that person exhibits.  Then we started negatively judging those behaviors, that person, and we threw out a couple negative, descriptive adjectives to label them.  At the same time, I was noticing my body's reactions to this.

When we were simply talking about the behaviors, I wasn't feeling triggered in any way.  I was accepting that person as a person doing the best that person can do here on planet earth.

When we started assigning negative labels to the behaviors and to the person, it changed things. I wasn't as able to sit in my happy place, seeing this person as doing the best she can do.  All of a sudden, there was a little voice in my head, saying,"Well, she could do better than that; couldn't she?  I mean, how hard is it?"  

It's the negative judgments that get us into trouble.

We are all here doing the best we can in the moment.  If we had the capacity to do better, we would.

If you can hold that truth in your heart, at the same time that you are looking at the behavior, you will see the behavior differently.  You will see the person differently.  You will be looking with compassion, no matter the circumstance.  You will see the whole person -- the good and the bad and all the bits in between.

You may still come to the same conclusion.  You may still decide that you cannot or can no longer live with that behavior.

In the alternative, you may find that you focus more on the other person's humanity than on that person's flaws.  You may find there is more there that is lovable than you realize.  You may find that you have more patience with and understanding for the other person.

Or not.



Conflict Lessons from a Segway

  1.        Stand up straight.
  2.        Be centered.
  3.        You’ll spend a lot of time on your toes.
  4.        But don’t tense up.
  5.        You can’t move forward if you’re leaning back.
  6.        If you’re passive, you aren’t getting anywhere either.
  7.        Be aware of what is happening around you.
  8.        It’s probably going to hurt, at least a little.
  9.        Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.

If you'd like to explore this list in more detail or if you're just looking for an excuse to ride a Segway and a team-building exercise like this seems like the perfect fit, give me a call: 207-439-4267.  Learning about conflict really can be fun, just as riding a Segway really can be educational.


when trust is broken

Do you want to be right or do you want to be in relationship?

This can be one of the hardest questions to answer.

When there is a substantial violation of your trust, what do you do with that?

What do you do with multiple, small violations of your trust?

The answer is different for each of us.  Some are quick to choose principles over relationship.  Some are always choosing relationship.  And most of us fall somewhere in between.

Sometimes it's the first violation of trust that causes us to ask this question.  Usually, when that happens, it's something big, some form of betrayal on a large scale, like an affair.

Sometimes it's a collection of violations over time.  Trust has been slowly chipped away at, eroded, until finally the question is there, "Do I want to continue this relationship?"

Trust is something which can be freely given or earned over time.  It also can be squandered by the receiver.  It takes much longer to rebuild trust than it does to receive it initially.

Words are not enough when it comes to rebuilding trust.  It is one's actions which truly tell whether one is trustworthy or not. 

Rebuilding trust takes time and energy on both sides.  It can be a long and painful process. 

And, until trust has been rebuilt, the question lingers, "Do I want to continue in this relationship?"

Only you have the answer to that question.


Taking the Craziness Out of Conflict

In June, I participated in the Power of One Conference and gave a talk entitled Taking the Craziness Out of Conflict.  To watch the video, click here:  Taking the Craziness Out of Conflict


fall is a time to reap what you've sown

Fall is in the air.  The nights are cooler and longer.  The apples at local farms are almost ready to be picked.

While the weather still supports a lot of outdoor activities, with nightfall coming sooner, and with children back in school, it seems that your evenings are more likely to be spent at home these days.

If you've been taking care of yourself and your relationships, then spending time at home with your loved ones may be quite pleasant.

And if you haven't, then you may find yourself feeling a little trapped in the evenings, wishing for the escape that summer brings.  

Or perhaps you live alone and you're feeling a little lonely and wish that you had someone around in the evenings.

Fall is a time to reap what you've sown.

What have you sown over the course of the year?  Seeds of discontent?  Seeds of gratitude?  Have you nurtured your relationships, your loved ones?  Have you tended to the needs of others as well as those your own?  Have you communicated effectively?  Have you treated others the way that you want to be treated?  Have you sought out relationships with people who treat you well?

In relationships, as in gardening, what you intended is not always what you get.  Plants can suffer from blight, pests, drought, flood, etc.  You can put in a lot of work and still have your efforts destroyed by circumstances beyond your control.  In the alternative, with the right conditions, you can get a high yield with little effort on your part.  Most of the time, however, there is a direct correllation between the work you put in and the benefit you receive.

Take a look at your relationships.  Are they working for you?  What have you sown?  What are you reaping?