The subject of self-esteem is divided into three parts: Self-esteem, needs and feelings. Here are brief descriptions on them:
Self-esteem is often defined as one’s belief in oneself. It evolves throughout our lives as we develop an image of ourselves through our experiences with different people and activities. Experiences during childhood play a particularly large role in the shaping of self-esteem. When growing up, the successes, failures, and how we are treated by our family, teachers, coaches, religious authorities, and peers, all contribute to the creation of self-esteem.
Our past experiences, even the things we don’t usually think about, continue to impact our daily life in the form of an “inner voice.” Although most people do not hear this voice in the same way they would a spoken one, it acts in a similar way, continuously repeating childhood messages to us.
For people with high level of self-esteem, the messages of the inner voice are usually accepting and reassuring. For people with low level of self-esteem, the inner voice becomes a harsh critic, punishing one’s mistakes and belittling one’s accomplishments.
All humans have needs, ranging from existential ones, such as the need for air and food, to the psychological need for love, recognition and self-esteem. In our programs we focus on needs closely related to self-esteem and confidence, since an understanding of these particular needs is the key to understanding how to deal with conflict and violence.
As human beings, we’re always going to have feelings. Expecting young people – with raging hormones and intense emotions – to keep a stiff upper lip at all times is inviting trouble. If their feelings are not expressed in acts of bullying or self-hatred now, they could surface one day as heart disease, road rage, or another form of violence toward the community. By helping young people learn to acknowledge and express their feelings, we believe that we will be helping to create a generation in which compassion and caring are amongst the most important values.
2. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
The subject of conflict management is divided into three parts: Conflict, managing conflicts and communication. Here are brief descriptions on them:
Conflict is a natural part of human life and exists in all relationships, groups, and cultures, and occurs at every level of social structure. Conflicts can be uncomfortable and energy consuming, and, if not dealt with in a constructive manner, it can be destructive and lead to violence, or even war. But a conflict can also be a positive force for change, and bring new life, vitality or productivity to an otherwise stagnant relationship or a team. We cover both aspects in our sessions and activities as well as the following specific issues:
- Dynamics of conflict
- Escalation of conflict
Conflicts are a natural part of our lives and are based on different needs, power imbalances, or poor communication. Constructive and peaceful conflict management gives us the tools to handle conflicts in a positive and peaceful way, and help us prevent those that are unnecessary, such as conflicts based on poor communication or misunderstandings. In our sessions and activities we look into useful insights on these issues as well as on the following:
- Styles in conflict
- Opponents in conflict
- Mapping conflicts
- Solving conflicts
In Latin, the word communicare means, “to share”. Communication is the activity of conveying information through exchange between a sender and a receiver – between people for instance. In the field of conflict management there are many ways used to develop fruitful communication between people. In our sessions and activities we have narrowed them down to two:
- Active listening
- Peaceful talking
The subject of non-violence is divided into three parts: Violence, non-violence and non-violence role models. Here are brief descriptions on them:
According to the United Nations, violence is when someone uses his or her strength, or his or her position of power, to hurt someone else on purpose and not by accident. Violence includes threats of violence, and acts, which could possibly cause harm, as well as those that actually do. The harm involved can be psychological, and affect the general health and well being of someone, as well as causing physical harm to the body. Violence also includes deliberate harm people do to themselves, including suicide.
The term non-violence comes from the Sanskrit word ahimsa. Sanskrit is an ancient language in India. Ahimsa is the opposite of the word, himsa, which means “the wish or desire to do harm, or injure.” Ahimsa is a very old word that can be found, among other places, in the Bhagavad-Gita Gait – a 700 verses Hindu scripture which was written somewhere between the 500-200 BC.
Modern definitions of the expression non-violence are:
- To intervene actively against violence and oppression in our surroundings
- A method of struggle, based on a peaceful dialogue, and distancing oneself from violent actions
- To resist, without creating physical or psychological damage to living individuals
- To address terrorism and extremism by searching for a response in a peaceful manner.
We strive for the non-violence work to be inspiring and fun. We believe it is important to carry on even if it feels like nothing is changing, and to always believe that it is worth working for. Teaching young people to be humble and keeping a non-violent attitude is something we believe is the key for peace and non-violence to spread.
NON-VIOLENCE ROLE MODELS
Throughout history there have been people who changed their societies and stopped oppression without resorting to violence. We call them our role-models and have collected some information and stories about them as inspiration for activities and assignments in our programs. The role-models at present are:
- Mahatma Gandhi from India
- Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan
- Martin Luther King Jr. from America
- Nelson Mandela from South Africa
- Wangari Maathai from Kenya
- Raoul Wallenberg from Sweden
- John Lennon from England