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Pains Avoidable Through Peaceful Living
A Collection of Brief Statements

• Some pains are unavoidable; we simply must learn to cope, to "move on". However, some pains are avoidable through careful discernment, by becoming informed, by being honest with ourselves and others.

• Sometimes we hurt ourselves and other people unintentionally; selfishness and ignorance make the desire to cause harm intentional. In other words, most people do not intend to cause others harm, but only do so when they are stuck in a selfish mode of thinking out of ignorance.

• People's decisions usually make sense to themselves because they are made within the context of their own experience. We may not be able to identify with those decisions, especially if we are not aware of or don't understand the experiences which motivate them. Have a dialogue and get to understand each other.

• Sometimes people do not learn from the experiences from others because they are under the impression that their personal experiences are wholly unique. Some cannot identify with the experiences of others precisely because they have not experienced it themselves. It may not necessarily be doubts about their veracity (i.e.: whether or not what that person has experienced is "true"), but a disconnect. There is no personal point of reference that they can draw upon for understanding.

• Sometimes people are connected through shared memories. They associate a person with the emotions that they feel when they are together. If the emotions are mostly positive, then they become close. If the emotions are mostly negative, they become repulsive to one another. This is sometimes related to working on things together. If you have a common goal, a synergy starts to develop. The two persons become aspects of one larger whole.

• To some, loyalty means exclusivity, a desire for the private aspects of a person to be shared with them alone. To some, loyalty may be a fulfillment of an obligation associated with some role (e.g.: "Part of being a husband is that I only share my body with my wife."). Problems can arise if each person feels differently but acts under the assumption that the other feels the same.

• What makes a relationship eternal? It must have a focal point that exists beyond the transitory.

• I cannot control what another person does; that includes what they have done in the past and what they will do in the future. At best, I can only influence them towards constructive actions in the present with an eye towards their effects on their own future. I choose to do everything within my power to be a constructive influence. This influence will not be manipulative or forceful, but by living by example with humility and grace.

• People are complex. People's thoughts and feelings can change, for better or for worse. A person can also hold multiple motivations, whether complementary or conflicting. Their experiences can run a wide gamut, from the pleasant to the painful.

• Disagreement doesn't necessarily mean that someone believes the opposite. There could be many nuances to take into consideration. Sometimes we have to make decisions based on incomplete information (e.g.: one's requiring a quick reaction time). Other times it makes more sense to consider things carefully. Not all information may be visible or within one's awareness. Try to consider all aspects that you can and continue to gather more information.

• Even acts of kindness can become a form of manipulation if they are motivated by selfish desires. Do things because they produce the most constructiveness as possible for everyone, not simply to be liked. Sometimes people say and do things, not because they are being truthful and open in a way that is genuine, but because they want to get something out of someone. What makes someone trustworthy?

• Lacking emotion or tact is not an indication of intelligence. Being sensitive, gentle, and considerate is wise. Callousness and cruelty are harmful to everyone, including oneself. The more that we learn, the more humble it should make us. Be grateful for your opportunities, not arrogant.

• No one is "above" or "below" another (in the sense of worth) for any reason whatsoever. Every life is valuable, priceless.

• When is it wise to stay and work things out, and when is it wise to move on? Dedication is different from compromise. A reasonable concession is when one lets go of harmful stubbornness that blocks one off from the constructive. This is to learn and grow. Yet at the same time, one should not give up on being consistent in constructive behaviors, even when their personal benefit may not be evident.

• Sometimes not even a sincere apology can repair the damage caused by careless words and petty actions. That is not an excuse to avoid responsibility and not try to make amends though. Mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation are as important as justice, fairness, and accountability.

• It is natural to want to help those who we care about. However, we cannot make decisions for another, nor should we try to. Part of caring is allowing others to make their own choices. Being supportive is different from condoning destructive behavior.

• Do not take out your upset on others, especially those that have no involvement. Just because one person acts a particular way does not mean all people of [blank] type act the same way, even if they seem to be part of the same group.

• Peace is only had when it is lived.