Why is it so hard to achieve peace between Israel and Palestine? The groups have spent thousands of years fighting wars, burning temples, building walls, and persecuting peoples.
A coParent could argue that everything is wrong in the current negotiations: a failure to listen, emotionally charged speech, unrealistic expectations, divergent communications styles, cultural disparities, and a lack of trust. There is a feeling (on both sides) that the parties have never had equal bargaining power in the negotiations. And there is a deep well of negative emotions on each side. There has not been peace between Israelis and Palestinians because both parties are locked into the past, validating their positions based on ancient evidence.
In contrast, when parties focus on their interests, which are derived from present needs and limitations, those interests invite dialogue and compromise. is present-moment focus is the foundation of mindfulness practice and allows you to see what’s in front of you, not what’s behind you or on the horizon. The past is a burdensome frame that rarely moves negotiation forward. It takes a focus on the present to do that. And it’s only when negotiators are able to shift attention to the here and now that significant progress can be made.
These are many of the elements I focus on — including being prepared, building relationships, and knowing both your own and the other party’s goals and real interests. A coParent negotiator must remain patient and focused not on past grievances, but on present interests.
Excerpt from The Transformative Negotiator: Changing How We Come to Agreement from the Inside Out. By Michèle Huff, J.D. UNHOOKED BOOKS.