With the political climate the way it is a lot of us are either shying away from talking with those that don’t hold the same views, cutting people down who don’t think like us, and finding it very hard to see past a difference of opinion to even entertain another perspective.
What happens though when we don’t engage with others who see the world differently than us is that the world becomes a pretty scary place. It becomes a place of generalizations and assumptions. A place where there are insiders and outsiders. It becomes a world difficult for us to understand.
And though it is difficult to understand, most of us don’t take the time to try to gain clarity instead we yell, make snide remarks, talk over others, shake our heads, say things like you’re wrong, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Trying the whole time to fight the other to believe what we believe.
We rarely cultivate room for discussion.
Discussion means listening to one another.
Discussion means acknowledging the other person’s perspective.
Discussion is giving yourself an opportunity to learn something new or confirm original ideas.
Discussion is giving up your need to be right.
Discussion means we allow the other to be and think and believe as they do and we also can be and think and believe as we do.
If we enter into interactions knowing that we can’t convince anyone of anything, then the point of our interaction – the intention changes.
Maybe the intention becomes to try to understand the other person’s point of view. Not to change it, but to truly listen to see why they believe what they do, what they think about the issues and why. And while inside we may be disagreeing with everything they’re saying, what we’re showing is tolerance, consideration, and respect.
And the more we show tolerance, consideration, and respect, the more it will be shown to us as we describe our opinions and views.
We start having discussions by paying attention to how we respond to others.
We come to the conversation not with the intention to cut someone down, to have our voice heard, to punish someone for what they believe, but to understand the other person a bit more.
And sometimes after we get to know their perspective that’s all that we need to do – no action on our part is needed – no more words need to be said and we can move on.
Great blog post and topic. I am reminded of a new TV show on the Viceland network called “Gaycation.” It’s hosted by Ellen Page (a gay woman) and her friend who is a gay man. They travel around the globe meeting with people and trying to understand how the LGBTQ communities are being treated and how they fit in to that particular society. If ever there were two souls on the planet who exemplify your topic in this blog, it is those two. They showed an interview with some person in a 3-world country who said right to them that he felt the need to rid his community of gays. And they just listened and tried to understand what he was all about. If you have not seen that program, I encourage you to watch it. It is full of compassion and love and really trying to listen to others. It’s great TV.