People Innovation Excellence

What You Need to Know About : Hawaiian Ho‘oponopono Theory

Ho‘oponopono, or setting to right, is a method of interpersonal conflict resolution practiced in the traditional Native Hawaiian culture. As a highly collectivistic society, the Native Hawaiian community generally perceives interpersonal conflict as negative and to be avoided or ignored whenever possible. However, when interpersonal conflict between members of the community creates much distress for any of the parties involved or the community at large, ho‘oponopono is likely to be performed. Essentially, then, the overall goal of ho‘oponopono is not only to resolve interpersonal conflicts but also to restore a sense of togetherness and harmony among all members of the community.

A third party, normally a respected elder of the community, serves as the facilitator. This elder is responsible for monitoring and controlling both the verbal and the nonverbal behaviors of the disputants as he or she guides them through an opening, discussion, resolution, and closing phase. In the opening phase, the facilitator typically says a prayer to bless the conflicting parties. He or she then encourages the disputants to conduct themselves in a sincere and truthful manner and may remind them about how the whole community has been affected by their discord. The elder then outlines the alleged problem and describes how ho‘oponopono will proceed.

During the second phase, the discussion, the facilitator attempts to identify the source(s) of the problem. This phase is normally the most timeconsuming because family members and others who have been affected by the conflict may share their views at this juncture. As can be expected, this process of uncovering the cause(s) of the conflict can also be extremely emotional. Therefore, the elder must be able to steer all participants away from blaming and recrimination. Should tempers flare at this point, the leader would call for a period of silence to bring emotions under control. He or she would then remind participants of the purpose of ho‘oponopono and emphasize selfscrutiny over finding fault with others.

In the third phase, resolution, parties express sincere apologies and ask for forgiveness. It is important that forgiveness is granted, for this symbolizes a release from the ties of conflict and discord that linked the disputants. If forgiveness is not given, ho‘oponopono is not complete.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.654

Penanggungjawab naskah :

Gayes Mahestu
Edwina Ayu Kustiawan

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