"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. 

How to avoid letting your likes and dislikes turn into judgments

Have you ever told someone that you love a certain quality about them, and then, they turn around and compliment you for having the same quality?

It’s natural that we can see the positive qualities in others that we also have within ourselves. 

But it’s also true that we see the qualities in others that we don’t like about ourselves.

For example, I get annoyed when I hear people say judgmental and intolerant things.

My frustration comes from a subtle fear that I might also be judgmental and intolerant sometimes.

And if I’m really honest, when I pay attention to my thoughts, what surprises me is that there is a lot of judgment.

I disguise it by telling myself these are just my preferences for what I like and don’t like. 

“I would have painted that wall blue instead of red.”

“If I were her, I would have kept my hair long instead of cutting it short.”

“This food is a little undercooked. I would have cooked it longer.”

“She could have gotten the discount if she had made a quicker decision.”

These are simple, daily thoughts that might not seem offensive or disrespectful. 

It’s natural to get frustrated when you see someone do something you don’t like.

But your preferences can turn into intolerance of the way other people think and act.

Have you ever told someone to do something because you just want to help fix ‘theirproblem?’

But eventually, you realize that you need to take your own advice.

Friend, if you’re like me, you don’t want to be judgmental or intolerant of others.

But you DO want to be able to speak up for what you like and don’t like (your preferences).

You want balance.

I believe you can find the right balance when your goal is to express your preferences without trying to control, advise, or change others to be like you. 

And the balance happens when you have the right tools to reflect on your thoughts and then express your preferences with clarity and confidence.

If you struggle to find the words to express what you want because you worry that you’ll come across as judgmental or intolerant, I can help.

Sign up for a FREE 30 minute session with me.

We’ll talk about why you’re struggling to find balance, and I’ll give you a strategy to help you express with clarity and ease what you really want (without coming across as judgmental).

Click here to see my schedule and sign up for a time to chat.

We’re on this journey together. 

I support you!

What I learned as a photojournalist about conflict resolution

When I was in my 20’s, I went to graduate school to become a photojournalist.

I like to understand what people are thinking and why they make certain choices.

Not only did this work allow me to be curious, but I loved the pursuit of clarity, honesty, and objectivity.

I saw those characteristics in my work when I explored and understood a variety of perspectives.

And I do the same thing when I want to solve a conflict.

I try to understand the different views of the people who are involved.

If I only push what I want, or I don’t speak up for what I want at all, the solution doesn’t stick.

Because if you don’t get your needs met, you’re less likely to follow through on your part of the agreement.

Like journalists, you just have to do a little research in order to understand other perspectives. 

Get curious and ask questions about someone’s experiences, emotions, values, and needs in order to understand what’s important to them and why.

When you gather different perspectives, you’ll make a better judgment on what feels most true to you about a topic.

Then, you can make a more informed decision about what to do next.

If you ask someone for their perspective on an issue, you don’t have to do anything with that information right away. Just reflect on it.

You can say, “I’m interested in hearing your perspective about this problem. And I’d also love to share mine with you.”

The fear that you have to agree, or that you’ll be forced to make a fast decision, could be holding you back.

If you don’t agree, you can simply say, “I appreciate hearing your perspective. My experiences have given me a different perspective. Can I share them with you?”

Or you can say, “I can see why you feel that way. I feel a bit differently. In my experience,…”

You don’t have to have a quick response or solution. You’re just gathering information—“Doing your research,” as we used to say.

Part of the creativity of problem solving is entering into the unknown. 

Start the conversation with the best intentions and remind yourself that you don’t have to know what the outcome will be in order to have a respectful conversation.

You’re there for research. You want to understand more about their perspective.

You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to understand every detail. You don’t even have to know what the other person is talking about when you get started.

Facts, policies, history. Whatever they talk about is fine. Ask more questions to get clarity on what they’re thinking and feeling until you feel like you understand. 

Take your time. Ask a few questions, and when you’re ready to leave, say something like, “Wow. Thanks for your time, Zac. It’s been really helpful for me to hear your perspective. I’d like to keep reflecting on this and would love to keep the conversation going. Can we talk again tomorrow?”

Does the idea of entering into this type of “research” scare you, Friend? I know how you feel. It’s hard to put yourself in situations where you don’t feel confident. I can help you with that.

Sign up for a free 30 minute session with me. 

We’ll talk about what fears are holding you back, and I’ll give you a tool or strategy to help you feel more confident when you go into conversations like these.

Gathering information and understanding other perspectives one part of problem solving. 

When you start to feel more confident in this one area, you’ll also bring more ease and confidence to the other areas—like knowing what you want and expressing it clearly, knowing how to respond to someone in the moment, and knowing how to start (and end) difficult conversations.

If you’re ready to take the next step, sign up for your free session here.

Expecting the best for you today!

I think about this a lot

Does right and wrong really exist?

I love thinking about this because right and wrong are so relative to the perspective of each person.

And your perspective comes from your values and beliefs.

Religions are great examples of this. 

Many religious people think their way is the right way…or the only way.

But we can see throughout human history that there have always been many different ways of interpreting the world. What is right in one religion can be wrong in another.

Parenting is another great example. 

Each parent has different values, so they’re going to teach their children what is right and wrong based on those values.

One parent says it’s never okay to fight. Another parent says it’s okay to fight if you have to defend yourself.

Even the rights and wrongs that people consider to be universal, such as ‘do not kill,’ can be relative. 

We kill in war. We kill animals for food and products.

We kill if it’s ‘necessary.’

But who determines if it’s necessary?

The people involved.

In businesses, schools, families, and friendships, right and wrong is based on the values and beliefs of the people who are involved.

So how can we say there is a right or wrong way for anything?

What we should really say is there are values—millions of values that each family, business, and country cultivates based on what they choose to believe and value at a certain point in time.

Rules and customs are constantly changing. 

There was a time in the U.S. when it was ‘wrong’ for a black and white person to share the same water fountain.

There was a time when it was ‘wrong’ for women to own property in their own names.

And less than two years ago, it was still ‘wrong’ in 14 states for same-sex couples to get married.

Right or wrong is only determined by the context of the group of people you’re talking to.

As humans, we change our minds based on the context of our environment.

Why is it okay that I recycle when I’m in the U.S., but I don’t when I’m in El Salvador?

Simply because of the context.

Recycling is not as common in El Salvador. I feel weird throwing a water bottle in the trash in El Salvador, but there’s literally nowhere else for me to put it.

So my expectation of recycling changes based on the context I’m in. In the U.S., it’s ‘wrong’ not to recycle, but it’s not ‘wrong’ in El Salvador.

What creates this context? 

Our past experiences, our family, our culture, our spiritual beliefs, all of it….our history as humans.

Because I believe that right or wrong comes from the beliefs and values of the people involved (not simply because right or wrong is universally understood), I’m able to solve problems more effectively.

If I don’t see things as innately right or wrong, it’s far easier and more natural to be patient enough to look for the reasons why someone doesn’t want what I want, or believe what I believe.

Beneath every right or wrong there is a reason for that belief. And the argument gets resolved when you look for the deeper reason for the belief. 

Next time you are struggling to make a point or understand someone else’s, just ask yourself,

“Is this innately wrong, or am I putting a value judgment on this topic or conversation? What is the real need here, underneath the assumption that it is automatically wrong?”

How an abundance mindset can prevent arguments

It’s hard to keep an abundance mindset every day.

It’s easy to worry about losing something you love or believe that what you want will never come.

When I’m fearful, I defend my point of view, and I force solutions.

This leads to resistance and tension with the important people in my life. And that often leads to arguments.

What I’ve noticed, though, is that when I see the world as abundant, I stop feeling the need to fight for resources (or force my will on others).

I start to relax when I believe that I’m already getting, and will continue to get, what I need.

That doesn’t mean that I never share my opinion or that I stop trying to get what I desire.

But I open up to whatever needs to happen in that moment.

I become a better listener because I’m really paying attention to the other person and not only focused on my needs.

That means that sometimes I express my opinion, and sometimes I am be patient without saying anything.

Friend, do you struggle with being open to whatever needs to happen in the present moment?

Instead, do you defend your point of view and force solutions on problems?

That’s natural. You deserve to get what you need.

But you can do it in a way that removes the fear and embraces abundance.

If you want to create an abundance mindset, let’s talk.

In a FREE 30 minute session with me, we’ll explore what fears make you want to push your point of view and force your solutions on others. And I’ll give you a strategy to help you be more open to the present moment so that you can feel relaxed. After the conversation, you’ll prevent more arguments and release tension with the people you care about.

Sign up for a FREE 30 minute session here.

Is this happening to you?

Do you ever feel drained after talking to someone about a tough situation they’re dealing with?

If you’re a good listener and you care about others, you’re familiar with this.

People come to you because they need your support, but it’s possible that you also take on the negative energy of what they’re sharing.

So, you start to feel worn-out.

This is also true when someone makes a rude comment to you or has a negative opinion.

But that’s their energy, not yours.

You don’t have take on other people’s frustrations.

If you refuse to take it personally, you’ll be immune to their energy.

Also, when you know you’ll be entering a situation where you’ll be vulnerable to other people’s negative energy, you can practice a visualization to help repel the negative vibes.

Friend, it may sound silly, but it works.

I imagine myself in a bubble that surrounds my whole body. And if negative ideas or people come my way, they bounce off the bubble.

I’ve heard people say they use mirrors to reflect the energy, shields, a blanket, a cloak, or white light that surrounds them.

Words and thoughts have power.

Even when others are negative, you’ll be a force for good when you share your kind words and loving thoughts.

If you’re constantly feeling drained by other people’s negative energy, let’s chat.

I’ll give you a strategy to handle the negativity and respond to it with confidence and ease.

When you have the right tools to communicate, you won’t ignore the things that are important to you. You’ll know what you need and how to get it in a kind, cooperative way.

Sign up for a free 30 minute negativity-busting session with me.

Can’t wait to talk to you!

Take a huge weight off your shoulders with this strategy

When you’re not sure what you want, it can be scary to start a difficult conversation.

But sometimes you need to talk to the other person before you can figure it out.

The reason is because problem-solving is creative, and there are many solutions for every problem.

If you don’t include the other person, you’re missing half of the creative power in the process.

You feel a weight on your shoulders right now because you’re taking the responsibility to find the solution by yourself.

Not only does this limit the solutions you come up with on your own, but in order to have a solution that really sticks, you need to include the other person.

But if it’s scary to start the conversation, I have a tip for you.

Instead of approaching the person with an intention to solve the problem, how about approaching them with an intention to connect, to help them feel heard, or to just get the problem out in the open.

Those intentions will guide your actions.

You don’t have to know what you want when you get started. You can just start by doing what your intention requires.

If you want to strengthen your appreciation for her, you can say, “Before we get started, I want you to know that I appreciate that you made time to talk with me today.”

If you want him to feel understood, you can say, “From what I’m hearing you say, it sounds like you’re pretty upset about the new business on the corner because of the traffic it has caused. Did I hear that right?”

So, instead of defending your point of view or trying to figure out what to do before you talk to this person, focus on the process.

How do you want to feel, or what do you want to express in the process?

When you focus your intention this way, you’ll open up many options that didn’t exist before.

Because the process is part of the solution.

Try it out! Reply to this email and let me know what happens.

Always expect the best!

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

It’s natural to want to control and plan for the future.

I’m a huge planner.

But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it might be because you’re planning and organizing to perfection.

That’s what I used to struggle with.

But I’ve learned that if I want to create more harmony with the people I care about, it’s important to stay flexible, be resourceful, and adjust my plans when necessary.

Otherwise, it’s easy to create tension in my relationships because I’m trying to force others to “stick to the plan” when I should really be adjusting the plan and looking for new ways to solve the problem.

Does that sound familiar, Friend?

Even when things don’t go the way you plan, rather than getting upset (which can affect those around you), you can get satisfaction from finding a new solution to a problem.

We receive a ton of joy in life from being flexible and spontaneous.

Even though it can be scary to sit in uncertainty, without clear answers, it’s often a big part of our day. And if you’re open, it can also lead to surprising (and even positive) outcomes.

Instead of letting yourself get upset from sitting in rush-hour traffic after work, you swing by the grocery store and run into a friend who invites you to coffee the next day.

Your car breaks down one morning, so you drop it at the mechanic and get to share a nice chat with a stranger on the bus on the way to work.

Rather than getting overwhelmed with the change of plans, you responded to the situation with resourcefulness and flexibility, which resulted in a positive experience.

When you control too many details in your day, or your week, you lose a bit of that spontaneity and joy in the process of getting things done.

And you get overwhelmed, expressing more anger and frustration to the people around you.

Friend, are you letting the spontaneity of life get squashed under the desire to plan and control?

Are you ready to find a new balance?

If you want to find a better balance in order to create more harmony in your relationships,sign up for a free 30 minute session with me.

We’ll talk about what you’re struggling with, and I’ll give you a strategy to help you bring more flexibility (and less overwhelm) into your day.

Let’s get you on my calendar this week.

Looking forward to our chat!

How to respond with clarity in the moment

Have you ever been lying in bed at night, thinking about a conversation that didn’t go the way you would have liked?

Then, you come up with the perfect response because you’ve had a few hours to think about it.

But you really wish you could have responded with that much clarity in the moment.

Instead, you completely froze, and the person walked away.

Even if someone approaches you nicely, it can feel unfair when you don’t have time to think and respond in the moment.

It’s easy to take the blame for something that wasn’t your fault because you’re confused.

But you can’t always have the information you need in order to respond with clarity.

Sometimes you get caught off-guard, and you need time to think about the issue so you can respond with the right information.

In the moment, you can say, “I’m not sure why that happened. Can I have some time to think about it, and we can talk about it tomorrow?”

When you do this, you won’t feel like you’re being treated unfairly because you’re speaking up for your needs with confidence in the moment by saying you need time to think about the problem.

You’ll also avoid feeling like you have to defend yourself in the moment, which can create more tension and confusion.

It can be awkward to go back to someone later on to clarify what really happened.

But after you’ve had some time to think about it, you have the right to go back to the person and say, “I was thinking about what you said, and….”

Try it out the next time you’re caught in the moment and don’t know how to respond.

Expecting the best for you!

I learned this from my friend’s dog

You’ve probably noticed how easily your pets forgive you.

You went to a happy hour last week instead of rushing home to take your dog for a walk. You didn’t have time to snuggle with your kitty for a few days this week. You stepped on your potbellied pig while cooking dinner last night (a friend of mine has one).

Even though humans and animals are different, we can learn a lot from their way of being.

My friend got mad at her boyfriend the other day.

Then, she watched him play with their dogs and thought, “He wants me to be like the dogs–just happy and not bothered at all. But I’m a human, not a dog.”

But dogs are great examples of how to be consistent in your response to others, even if they’re mean to you.

I asked her, “How can you be more like your dogs? How could you be loving to your boyfriend today, regardless of how he acts?”

She said, “But what do I get from doing that?”

You get to practice being in control of how you want to feel. When you’re in control of your emotions, and you’re consistent, you feel good.

Instead of getting caught up in how he is MAKING YOU FEEL, you’re able to decide how you WANT TO FEEL.

That’s what the dog does. He’s consistent. He’s able to stay happy even if you’re mad. He doesn’t take it personally. He just chooses to be happy and loving, regardless of how you respond.

Do you have a story like this, Friend? I’d love to hear it!

Reply to this email to let me know what lessons you’ve learned from your pets.

Have an incredible day!

6 ways to create international peace from your daily habits

When I think about peace on a global scale, it’s daunting because, well, it’s GLOBAL(!!!).

That’s how everything on a global scale feels.

Grow business. Reduce violence. Increase income. Reduce waste.

The idea of making anything happen on a global scale feels just a bit overwhelming.

So this is what I have to do to keep things simple. 

I ask myself, “What’s my role on this planet—to add to the chaos or to minimize it?”

A: Minimize it.

Q: How do I minimize it?

A: Just be.

Q: Be what?

A: Well, be kindness. Just be kind.

I love that word—kind. 

It’s not the word nice. It’s not the word love.

It’s like Goldilocks and the three bears…it’s juuuuust right.

It carries within it the essence of love, generosity, courage, connection, tolerance, community, respect, joy. That word includes all of it.

So if my role is to minimize chaos by being kind, then what does that look like in my daily life? 

  1. I get rid of any chaos that sneaks around inside of me. We all contribute to the chaos on the outside if we don’t responsibly and consciously take action to get rid of it on the inside. It’s a daily practice.
  2. I ask myself, “What can I do just in this moment, or today, that takes me closer to experiencing and seeing the world as I want it to be?” Then, do it. Every day.
  3. I expect to see more of what I want to see. It’s there. Kindness is all around. I look for it.
  4. I have to feel connected. I try really hard not to isolate myself. I spend time with nature (even appreciated a water fountain at my dentist’s office) and with other humans in community (walking into a grocery store). Feeling connected is essential to being kind.
  5. I share my struggles. Talk about it or create something about it. Just get it out. My mind tells me I should just suck it up and take care of it on my own. But sharing is part of releasing the chaos inside.
  6. Be gentle. These thoughts in my head can be a bit harsh sometimes. Take it easy.

These are the things that create the international peace we are all looking for. 

It’s doesn’t start out there. It’s starts in here.

I support you!

© 2015 AMY RYMER