"Inner peace is world peace."

—Amy Rymer

All conflicts, big and small, start and end with individuals. Knowing this, you can reduce conflicts, and bring good to yourself and your entire community, if you express kindness, tolerance, and respect on a personal level each day. 

When you do this each day, you're less likely to contribute to violent thinking and behavior as part of a group, such as a family, a community, or at work.

Whether a coworker is being bullied or a country is being attacked, individuals make the choice to be violent or nonviolent.

Because of this, I believe we can use personal reflection to understand how we, as individuals, can face problems on a global level by first creating inner peace.

When we've created a sense of calm inside, it's more natural to express consistent love and kindness in our daily lives.

We're more likely to want to resolve conflicts and look for peaceful solutions as part of a group, rather than join the group in hateful behavior.

This blog is a place where I share my own experiences with difficult situations and offer helpful strategies in communication and self-awareness to help you respond in the moment with clarity and confidence. I'll also share other reflections about how to practice kindness in a world where people tell you, "You shouldn't be so nice." or "You should act tougher."

I don't believe you have to change your kind, generous, and respectful nature in order to get what you need. You can be the real you, find your voice, and handle difficult situations with ease.

Your stories of the transformations you see in others and yourselves when you practice these new tools inspire me. Your experiences hold great wisdom, and I would love to hear from you about what's working and what you're still struggling with so I can celebrate with you and support you. Send me a message on the contact page. I can't wait to hear from you!

"Inner peace is world peace."

—Amy Rymer

All conflicts, big and small, start and end with individuals. Knowing this, you can reduce conflicts, and bring good to yourself and your entire community, if you express kindness, tolerance, and respect on a personal level each day. 

When you do this each day, you're less likely to contribute to violent thinking and behavior as part of a group, such as a family, a community, or at work. 

Whether a coworker is being bullied or a country is being attacked, individuals make the choice to be violent or nonviolent.

Because of this, I believe we can use personal reflection to understand how we, as individuals, can face problems on a global level by first creating inner peace. 

When we've created a sense of calm inside, it's more natural to express consistent love and kindness in our daily lives. We're more likely to want to resolve conflicts and look for peaceful solutions as part of a group, rather than join the group in hateful behavior.

This blog is a place where I share my own experiences with conflict, offer helpful tips to resolve conflicts, and share other inspiring stories of conflict transformation—where everyday people have used love, generosity, kindness, humor, and creativity as transforming powers to resolve conflicts in everyday situations.

These stories remind us that the ability to resolve conflicts is not just for experts or professionals, but it's possible for everyone.

Do you have an inspiring story of conflict transformation that you'd like to share? Send me your story of 500 words or less to info@amyrymer.com, and I'll try to share it in an upcoming post. 

The only phrase you need to keep your peace

When was the last time someone told you to expect the best?

Imagine the power and practicality of a simple phrase like that.

One day, I was getting on a bus in El Salvador. Salvadorans don’t trust each other on buses, and the tension was visible on their faces (and I could feel it in my body!).

In a country where violence is the norm, this is what happened within five minutes of getting on the bus:

  • A teenage girl gave up her seat for an older woman–and the older woman held the girl’s bag in her lap.
  • A policeman was talking to teenagers in a friendly and non-confrontational way while they skateboarded near a statue.
  • A woman vendor on the street was having the most delightful belly-laugh with a man passing by.

I remember that day because when I got on the bus, I said, “I’m going to see how many good things I can see on my ride home today.”

I had never done that before. 

And I was so surprised when these things happened one right after the other. So much kindness, respect, and joy!

There have been other times when:

  • nobody gets up from their seats on the bus to offer even a really old lady a seat.
  • I was waiting for a bus and saw a man try to steal a woman’s cell phone while she held her two-year-old son.

And since police aren’t trusted, I had never seen teenagers and policeman casually chatting.

There are many reasons why I should have thought, “I hope nothing bad happens on my ride home today.” 

I even started to wonder, “Are good things actually happening around me all the time? Do I just not notice them because I don’t expect to see them?”

The answer is yes!

When you expect the best, the good stuff finds you.

You’re more prepared to see it because your perspective has shifted.

This can totally change the way you interact with the world.

Think about when you walk into work and know you’re going to see that coworker who rubs you the wrong way.

Or when you have to start a difficult conversation with your spouse.

You can transform the situation when you expect the best going into it.

Even when you can’t prepare for something difficult happen, you can still choose your perspective–your car breaks down late at night, you’re late to an interview, you don’t have the money to go to a family reunion, a conversation is going horribly wrong.

You don’t have to suffer through a difficult situation. This tool works in any moment.

If things aren’t going well for you right now, and it’s hard to expect the best, let’s schedule a time to talk. In a free clarity call, I’ll give you specific tools to help you take action so that you can get rid of the drama and find your confidence.

I’ll help you find the good again in your relationships and help you create more of it. If you’re ready to stop sitting with that tension around you and want to start seeing more good, sign up for a free clarity call with me.

Is love getting in the way?

‘m feeling inspired today because I’ve been taking walks in the morning along the bay near my house.

The beauty overwhelms me. 

Sometimes I want to bottle it up and hoard it, but I can’t.

I might have been the only person who wasn’t excited (at first) about pumpkin everything and the coming of fall.

It took a few weeks before I realized that I was trying to hold onto summer.

You can’t resist the seasons! 

And I thought about the fact that I can’t control nature. I just have to let it be…and love it for the moment that we have together.

Then, let it go.

Relationships with the people we care about can be like that. We feel overwhelmed by all the good and want to hold onto it the best we can.

But it’s okay to let go and not try to control it. 

Love that person for the time that you’re with him and release him–whether he’s a newborn or your partner of 50 years.

And in letting go, sometimes love sticks around a little longer.

Sometimes it comes back the next day (like the sun), the next year (like the seasons), or the next lifetime (who knows, right?).

If you can relate to what I’m talking about, let’s chat

If you’re having trouble letting go of someone you love, but you know it’s time to loosen your grip, sign up for a free clarity call here.

Nature doesn’t resist change. It embraces it.

If you’re ready to embrace the change, let’s talk. I’ll give you specific steps that you can take to handle this change with confidence, clarity, and ease.

Is there ever a time when you shouldn’t be nice?

A client asked me the other day, “Is there ever a time when you shouldn’t be nice?”
This question gets my heart pumping, and I’ll tell you why.
LOVE TRANSFORMS HATE…and it’s the only thing that ever has.
I believe that love is always the appropriate, and most powerful, response, no matter what.
And since love is at the core of “nice” behavior, the short answer to the question is ‘no’–there’s never a time when you shouldn’t be nice.
But if you’re nice to people, and you still can’t get what you need, I don’t want you to ignore your needs.
The key is to be in alignment with your values of being nice, but also push yourself a little.
If you see an opening in a conversation where you can be a little more bold, go for it.
For me, that means that I practice saying what needs to be said in the most kind, sincere way possible.
What’s the other option? Get angry and mean.
But let me ask you a question. How does it feel when you’re not nice to someone? How do you really feel deep down?
If you’re like me, you don’t feel great. At first you feel justified, and glad that you stood up for yourself, but then you feel bad, icky, sad, disappointed, and confused about what to do next.
This is especially true for us “nice girls” who value consistent kindness, respect, and generosity.
So, why does it feel bad when you’re not being nice? 
Because you didn’t act in alignment with your deeper self–the part of you that wants to give and receive love. The “nice” part of you.
Instead, you reacted from fear and ego, which takes you away from love.
So if you don’t want to fight back, but you’re not getting what you need, look for a new balance.
Practice what being bold and nice feels like for you.
If you’re worried that being more bold will make you offensive, judgmental, or disrespectful, my guess is that since you already fall on the “nicer” side of the spectrum, you’re not at a high risk of offending people.
For example, what comes to mind is the election. It would look very different for you to get more bold than it would for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
What happens when they get more bold? Miscommunication, anger, intolerance, you know….the world feels like it’s going to explode.
But when you get bold, things aren’t going to blow up or fall apart. 
If you get more bold, some pretty great things might happen.
Keep at it! It takes practice. And if you need support, I’m here.

Email me back with any questions or challenges as you look for that balance. I’m happy to help guide you forward as you put these ideas into practice.

I hesitated to speak up about a $1 soda

A simple thing happened yesterday.

I bought a Diet Coke at the corner store and took it home to drink.

When I tasted it, the flavor wasn’t sweet like it should have been.

The date on the can said January 19, 2015. Almost two years past due.

So I let it sit on my desk while I made a phone call (and thought about whether I wanted to go to the trouble to return the drink).

After the call, I still really wanted a new drink.

Then, this thought went through my head, “I don’t want to make that sweet lady at the store feel bad for selling me a gross drink. She’ll be embarrassed.”


It’s nice that I thought of her feelings, but she’s a shop owner. Mistakes happen. It’s no big deal.

I took back the drink.

I nicely told the sweet lady what had happened, and she gave me a new drink.

I left, thinking, “If I hesitated to speak up about a $1 can of soda, how often do I hold back with more significant things?”

Why did I hesitate? 

  • Was I uncomfortable with the idea that she might resist my request and not replace the drink?
  • Did I believe that I wasn’t worthy of asking for a fresh drink, even when I had already paid money for it?
  • Was I too worried about her needs and not focused enough on my own?

I wasn’t even mad about the situation. I took the can back because I really just wanted a new drink. There was no reason to hesitate.

So, don’t worry so much about what others will think. Just do the thing and get what you want.

By the way, I can say that to you because you’re just like me. You have good intentions and want people to be happy. You’re not going to suddenly become a troll because I told you to get a little more bold. That’s what I love about you. You’re a considerate person.

So, if you relate to this situation, and little moments like these are holding you back in your life, let’s talk.

In a free clarity session, we’ll talk about what’s getting in the way of you speaking up with more confidence so that you can get what you need. I’ll give you a strategy that you can use today to get your relationships back in balance.

Schedule a free clarity session here!

Deeper meaning with a familiar phrase

There’s a phrase I hear a lot in my yoga practice. I’m not sure which tradition it comes from, but it says to give and receive equally.
I put a little buddha on my desk with his hands in the position of giving and receiving equally. He sits there to remind me of this ideal balance.
In American culture, it seems like we put a lot of emphasis on fairness, balance, and equality. 
What I learned growing up was that if someone is nice to you, you should be nice back. If they give you something, you give back. If you do a favor for someone, they should do you a favor back.
You can always expect an equal, even exchange.
But life isn’t quite like that, is it?
What if the exchange was a little less even, and not so clear? What if you were to give and receive differently?
I went to a retreat last month with my business coach and colleagues. 
We did an activity together that really impacted the way I see giving and receiving.
The activity was to identify our natural strengths. Out of nine options, my strength was summed up as the peacemaker (not a surprise!).
Then, our coach told us that each of us is naturally designed to help people in other categories with different strengths.
But the people in those groups that I help are not always the same people who can best help me.
I realized that to give and receive equally does not necessarily mean to give and receive with the same person.
That surprised me.
Because I had always thought I was supposed to give and receive fairly with the same person.
It totally shifted the way I thought about giving and receiving.
Have you ever had a shift like this, Friend?
Since that moment, I’ve been much more generous and carefree about my giving because:
1. I can give in whatever way seems best. I don’t have to give back in exactly the same way that someone gave to me, or with equal value. If a friend brings me food when I’m sick one day, the next day, I might offer to help my neighbor if she’s struggling to take out her trash. The giving is more inspired and less literal.
2. I don’t fear over-giving. I know that the balance is not determined by whether that particular receiver gives back to me equally. It’s not like giving money to a cashier in exchange for a new t-shirt. The value is not so literal. The receiving can come from the sunrise, a coworker, or a friendly smile at the coffee shop. I can allow those things to fill me up and make me feel good. And I know that it’s natural for those things to come to me. It’s part of the cycle. It’s the good being returned.
Each person has a different way of giving and receiving, and it can be hard to find the right balance.

If you can relate to the feeling of trying to make everything an equal give and take, let’s chat. In a free 30 minute clarity session, we’ll talk about what’s making you lose that balance with the people around you. Then, I’ll give you an idea or strategy that you can put into practice right away to bring you back into balance, so that you can create better relationships with the people who matter most to you. Let’s schedule a time to talk this week!

Here’s to finding the right balance for you, Friend!

Don’t tell me to calm down

Have you ever told someone to calm down and take a deep breath?

They probably got even more frustrated because taking a deep breath can feel pointless when you’re all fired up.

Even though it might sound too simple or silly, taking a deep breath does help people calm down.

You have something called a vagus nerve, which is rooted in your head and travels to your abdomen (touching your heart and most major organs along the way).

The job of the vagus nerve is to slow down your heart rate, blood pressure, and other organs (giving you a sense of calm).

All of the physical symptoms of anxiety or anger—racing heart, sweaty palms, dry mouth, upset stomach, shakiness—are the result of your vagus nerve disengaging.

Luckily, you have the power to keep your vagus nerve engaged by doing deep diaphragmatic breathing—with a long, slow exhale—to stay more mellow in times of stress.

This works because once the vagus nerve is stimulated, it triggers the release of a substance called acetylcholine, which is literally a tranquilizer that you can self-administer by taking those few deep breaths with long exhales.

So when you, or someone you love, gets angry this holiday, try this strategy.

Now that you know the reason why deep breathing works, you can be confident when you tell someone, “Take a deep breath.” 

If you’re stressed about spending time with family and friends who have a temper, let’s chat.

In a free clarity session, we’ll talk about what’s stressing you out.

Then, I’ll teach you a strategy that you can use right away to help you find a sense of calm when others get angry.

With the right tools, you can get rid of the drama and strengthen your relationships with the people you care about most this holiday season. 

Click here to sign up for a FREE session.

I can’t wait to talk to you!

Where do your frustrations come from?

I dated a great guy once who would get angry and shut down when he was hungry. At first, I would get angry, too, and we would argue.

But after he told me the real reason he was angry, I was able to support him better because I didn’t take his anger personally. 

When I noticed his anger, I would just ask him, “You seem frustrated. Is it because you’re hungry, or is it something else?”

And many times, he actually was just hungry.

Of course, in the end, he’s the only one who could take responsibility for his anger and choose how he responded to it. But I could support him better by understanding the deeper reason for it.

Just like this situation, the emotional triggers that start arguments might not have anything to do with that moment.

Looking honestly at what causes your anger will allow you to respond more clearly to the situation.

You can ask yourself, “Why am I getting mad? Is this really about (current situation), or is it about something else?”

You can also include your partner, or the people closest to you, in helping you explore the cause of your anger.

When you share with them that you want to do better in managing your frustrations, they will know how they can to support you.

You can say, “Sometimes when I react to you with anger, it doesn’t always have to do with you and what’s happening in that moment. Can we try an experiment? When you see that I’m getting frustrated, and I start to shut down, will you say to me, nicely, “It seems like you might be shutting down. Is the reason because of what’s happening right now, or is it something else?”

Getting to the deeper issue of your anger can help diffuse the tension and also prevent the same situation from happening over and over again.

Or if it does happen again, you can both resolve it faster because you’re open to finding solutions together.

It can feel safe and comfortable to take out your frustrations on the people close to you, but without sharing the reasons for the anger, that can do more harm than good.

When you’re clear about your feelings and intentions, and can communicate them clearly, you have a much better chance of getting what you want than if you let your anger take control every time.

If you’re struggling to get clarity on where the anger is coming from, let’s talk.

In a free clarity session, I’ll help you discover how you’re truly feeling, beneath the anger, and give you strategies to express your feelings with more ease and clarity so that you strengthen your relationships with the important people in your life.

Let’s schedule a time to talk!

Can I tell you a secret?

I have to admit that I don’t always handle disharmony very well.

I push for solutions too quickly because I don’t like the tension that I feel when others get angry.

I try to fix the problem as fast as possible just to get out of the discomfort.

But what I realized is this…the reason I’m not comfortable with other people’s anger is that I’m actually not comfortable with my own.

Sometimes I move through my anger too quickly—I ignore it, or downplay it, or reason it away.

But when I become more confident and consistent in noticing (and managing) my own anger, I’m much more comfortable when others show theirs.

Emotions are natural, and anger is just another emotion that is a sign that something is out of balance.

It’s so important to acknowledge your emotions, and the other person’s, before trying to problem-solve a situation.

One way that I manage my anger when I feel attacked or confronted is to ask myself in the moment:

  1. “What emotion do I feel right now?” I feel overwhelmed.
  2. “Where do I feel it in my body?” I feel tension in my heart.
  3. “What number on a scale of 1 to 10 is the intensity of that emotion?” The overwhelm is at an 8.

These questions will help you become aware of how you’re feeling so you have control over what you do or say next.

You can do this exercise with any strong emotion, but especially with anger—so that you’ll become more comfortable with it and know how to work through it. 

If your anger is only at a 4 or 5 on the scale, you’re in a good place to be able to think and respond with clarity and calm to the situation.

But…and this is important…if you freeze or shut down when someone treats you unfairly the first time, and then another, and another, you’ll start to pass that 4 or 5 level, and one day, that same situation that started at a 5 might be a 10. And that’s the moment when you explode and wonder what happened.

Even “nice girls” can fly off the handle. Why? Because you’re tying to contain, and even ignore, your emotions rather than observing them and getting to know them.

Once you hit a 10, it takes a lot more effort to respond with clarity and kindness to a situation.

But if you’re aware of your feelings when you’re at a 4 or 5, you can respond in ways that clarify (and even resolve) the issue before it gets to a 10.

So when you’re in a difficult situation, and you’re getting bombarded, check yourself.

Emotions are natural. Make friends with them so that you can choose how you respond to them rather than letting them control you.

You can do this. You are in control.

Does anger scare you?

Anger used to scare me because I didn’t understand it.

When I saw someone getting angry, I would try to solve their problem as fast as possible, ignoring their feelings so that I could get out of my own discomfort with their emotions.

As I became more aware of my own emotions, I not only became more gentle and patient with myself, but I also became more patient with others. 

I started to see anger as a natural part of the problem-solving process.

I had some resistance to acknowledging my own anger in the beginning because I only wanted to see myself as kind and patient.

But I realized that anger wasn’t the problem.

The problem is that most people respond to their anger in negative ways. And that makes you think that anger is bad.

It’s not good or bad—it’s just another emotion.

It’s a trigger to help you notice that something is off balance.

Knowing this has helped me become a better problem-solver because:

  • If you ignore someone’s anger, you’re not fully listening, staying curious, and looking for common ground. You might force a solution that doesn’t really fit the situation because you’re not actually listening to, and understanding, what the person needs.
  • If you push someone through their emotions too quickly, the solution is less likely to really stick. Even if the person agrees to a solution, they might not follow through because it wasn’t a win-win for them. You got what you needed, but maybe they didn’t. Maybe you needed to give them more time to brainstorm solutions that could have better met their needs.
  • If you rush through a conflict out of discomfort, you’re not actually creating harmony.It’s a perceived harmony because you’re not actually solving the conflict—you’re avoiding it. By avoiding conflicts, you’re not expressing what you want or creating awareness for what the other person wants either.
  • If the person doesn’t feel like you understand what they’re going through, the trust between you starts to break down. Even if you have good intentions, there will be more discord because you aren’t truly understanding them.

If you prefer to avoid drama and stay calm, that’s normal. I’m that way, too. And as a “nice girl,” you might have learned to hold back or hide your anger, too.

But when you try to make everything perfect by ignoring anger, you have a harder time adjusting to changes and resolving conflicts.

One way to help someone feel heard is to repeat back what you hear the person saying—not a literal word-for-word playback, but a general summary of what you hear.

Here’s the catch. Don’t just say the facts. Be sure you also say the feelings you hear.

For example, if your partner says, “I’m so mad that we missed my work Christmas party because you had to work late tonight!”

You can respond by saying something like, “If I’m hearing you right, you’re mad that I had to work and we missed your work party. Is that how you’re feeling?

You can also add, “Do you mind telling me more about that?” or “Is there more that you’d like to tell me about that?”

Then, you’ll let them clarify or give more details about what’s bothering them.

Everyone needs to feel heard and understood as part of the problem-solving process—that includes acknowledging even the most intense emotions.

Practice this in small ways each day, so that you’ll be more prepared when the bigger issues come up. That way, the bigger issues and emotions will be less likely to throw you off balance.

Wishing you only the best!

What will it take to reset this relationship?

December and January are powerful months for me because I really take time to appreciate the year that’s ending and get excited for the year to come.

It’s incredible how nature gives us these cycles each year, month, and day when we naturally feel drawn to notice what we like and don’t like about our lives.

Looking back on the past year, Friend, and the effort you made to build stronger relationships, is there one relationship where you’re still wondering, “What will it take to reset this relationship?”

Maybe you don’t get along with your brother, your boss, or even your entire family.

If you’re confused about where to go from here, these five tips will help you reset your relationship.

1. It’s okay to sit in the uncertainty.  In our culture, it’s common to want to get out of the discomfort as quickly as possible—to find out the details, ask questions, and start problem-solving. If you’re at a point where you don’t know what to do, it’s okay to wait for clarity. Notice and embrace the uncertainty. It’s a beautiful place where you can be open to creativity and resourcefulness.

2. Be inspired by your effort.  Even when you don’t have the results you want, you can still take inspiration from the effort you’ve made. Have you ever noticed that when you take action, even though it’s really hard, you feel good that you tried? You feel empowered and strong. You feel relief for sharing your thoughts and just “getting it out there.”

3. Act without expectation.  The reason you feel inspired by your effort, even if the outcome wasn’t what you hoped for, is because you were acting from a place of love and sincerity. When you act with love, you’re acting without expectation for how the other person will respond.

If you’re disappointed and upset after you reach out or make an effort, it’s likely because you have expectations about how the other person should react. But if you act from love because that’s what feels good to you..and that’s what feels right…you’ll feel good about the effort you made no matter how the other person responds to you.

4. Rebuild trust.  If you’re not at the point where you can act lovingly without expectations, that’s okay. Stay open to it by looking for little opportunities to respond with kindness, generosity, honesty, non-judgment, and respect—even if your actions don’t appear to have any positive influence on the other person.

This starts to build trust. But the key to making this work is to be consistent. Trust is built on consistency. If you’re not consistent, they won’t believe that the effort you’re making is honest and sincere. It will feel manipulative. Building up this consistency could take just a moment, or it could take weeks or years. But the willingness to try is the important part. If you start to act consistently with kindness, generosity, and love, the other person will be more likely to see that you truly want to improve the relationship.

On the other hand, trust is not one-sided. You could be very consistent in showing respect and kindness, but the other person doesn’t show the same to you. You might feel like you can’t trust them, even though you’re doing things to help them trust you. If they aren’t ready, or don’t seem interested, to reset the relationship, that’s their choice. Then, you also get to choose whether it makes sense to let go of the relationship or to continue loving without expectations.

5. Pay attention to your own reactions.  In order to be consistently respectful, tolerant, and loving, you need to be managing your emotions and reactions to people. If someone triggers your anger, and you react, that’s normal. But it doesn’t improve the relationship.

So notice when you’re getting angry. Notice when you shut down or withdraw. Notice where you haven’t yet been willing to forgive the other person for things they did in the past. And notice where you’re being judgmental or unkind. All of these things are pieces of the puzzle to becoming consistent in your reactions, which builds trust.

For example, if you get angry in the middle of a conversation, ask for a break before you withdraw and shut down. When you’re confused in an argument, and don’t know what to do next, simply say, “I’m not sure where to go from here.” You don’t have to fix it right now. Sit in the uncertainty. Wait for clarity. Revisit the topic tomorrow.

You can see how it’s all connected. Acting with love, and without expectation, is the goal. Everything else flows from that intention. 

If you’re having trouble doing any of these five tips, or it’s not yet clear how they’re all connected, let’s talk. In a free Relationship Reset session, I’ll give you strategies to help you act with more consistency from a place of love, and without expectations, so that you can reset the important relationships in your life.

Sign up for a free session here.

I’m with you on this journey.

© 2015 AMY RYMER