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32 Ways to Live Less Violently

This article was originally published in the Winter 2020-2021 Edition of JUST Words.

Recognizing our interconnectedness in the cosmos, we have embraced the common call toward communion with God and all creation. Non-violence is an integral part of that journey—a journey which is both inward and outward. Awareness motivates behavior; behavior strengthens one’s internal orientation. Following are a few suggestions for living non-violently in relation to the cosmos, others, and ourselves.

  1. Spend time each day with the God of peace.

  2. Consciously seek to expand your capacity for empathy.

  3. Seek the wisdom of non-violent mentors.

  4. Adopt Gandhi’s assumption that human nature unfailingly responds to love.

  5. Avoid placing yourself or others in a situation that feels unsafe.

  6. Develop a healthy appreciation of your own sexuality and that of others.

  7. Reject manipulation and coercion as means of maintaining control.

  8. Appreciate beauty . . . in nature, art, poetry, another person.

  9. Uphold the integrity of the planet in addressing the destruction of rainforests, cluttering of outer space, use of fossil fuels, fracking, etc.

  10. Use resources wisely, e.g., water, fresh air, soil, food crops and animals, time.

  11. Recognize and applaud non-violent attitudes and behaviors in others.

  12. Reflect on the notion: non-violence is NOT synonymous with passivity.

  13. Be open to understanding ideas or people that you have previously opposed.

  14. Embrace honesty in all circumstances.

  15. Refuse to do harm to people and all living things.

  16. Practice self-control in all the circumstances of life.

  17. Humbly acknowledge simple mistakes; avoid over-reacting.

  18. Take responsibility for how you contribute to conflict.

  19. Reject a stance of passive complicity in damaging systemic “isms.”

  20. Intervene on behalf of others when violence has resulted in abuse.

  21. Speak your truth with compassion; listen intentionally with empathy.

  22. Replace potentially violent interactions with negotiation and arbitration.

  23. Listen to others debrief or “vent,” without engaging in or supporting violent reactions.

  24. Reflect a non-violent attitude in the leisure-time activities you choose.

  25. Recall a painful instance in life . . . reflect on the gift it gave you.

  26. Be willing to endure hardship and suffering without inflicting it on others.

  27. Choose not to use language that includes micro-aggressions.

  28. Support harmony by choosing not to participate in gossip.

  29. Learn how to express your righteous anger non-violently.

  30. Avoid “humor” that is disrespectful toward individuals or groups.

  31. Recognize that resentment and ruminating in old hurts opens the heart to violence.

  32. Ponder Cesar Chavez’s words: “If you use violence, you sell part of yourself for that violence."

Sister Rose Miriam SchulteSister Rose Miriam is a member of the Springfield Dominican leadership team and an experienced child and family therapist.

Interested in learning more about how you can practice nonviolence? Read the rest of the articles from this month's edition of JUST Words here.

You can also learn more about our passion for Justice and Peace work here.

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