Please disagree with me, but please be nice about it. I continue to be surprised by what I read in the news and on Facebook these days. It seems like so many people are hurt and angry and everybody who disagrees with them is [fill-in-the-blank hateful, derogatory remarks.] Has everyone stopped caring about people over ideals? Has everyone gotten so convinced that they are right that anybody who disagrees with them is not only wrong, but are [more hateful statements?]
Part of what I see is everybody believing they are “right.” The simple thought of telling ourselves that we are right, and we become indignant, puffed up, validated.
Two people believing opposite things, can both be right (for their lives and circumstances.) And they can both be wrong (for someone else’s life and circumstances.) If we could step back for a moment and instead of saying that we are right say, “this is what I believe based on what I know” maybe we could all start to get along again?
I believe the grass is green, and the sky is blue, but does that make me right? What if scientists come out tomorrow and say what we thought was blue is actually green?! Whaaaat? What if all those years, I had preached that Pluto was a planet only to find out … it’s not a planet after all.
Maybe it was just what I believed at the time based on facts I’d been presented with. My point is, even scientists can be wrong. Their beliefs are based on what they know at that time. What if everybody had convinced Columbus the world was flat, and he hadn’t taken a leap of faith believing it was round?
You see, there are multiple ways to look at something. If we take being right out of the picture, how might you view another person’s opinion differently? Maybe we could all listen a little easier? Take some of the fear and pride out of being wrong, and be okay with just thinking differently?
What would happen if the next time you saw or heard something you disagreed with, instead of getting angry, you think, “Well, that’s different from what I believe. I am curious what they know that I do not. What life circumstances, upbringing, worldview has brought them to this place?” So you ask them, “Would you mind telling me why you believe that? I’d like to know what you know.”
You may find yourself at the same conclusion, and that’s cool. You may find some compassion for another side of a story you didn’t know before. The important thing is for that moment, you made that person, that relationship, more important than being right.
I’ve seen multiple posts about friends un-friending people this year, and that makes me sad because maybe if we chose to listen before being right, we might keep more friends. We might have interesting conversations and learn a piece of someone’s life story we never knew that strengthens our relationship rather than divides it.
It boils down to this. Do you value the person more than your belief? If you do, take the time and have the compassion to ask, “Why do you believe that? Help me understand.” And recognize it’s okay if they don’t agree with you. You can still love someone you disagree with. Show them you love them more than your beliefs by listening to what they have to say. And if you still disagree, that’s okay. All you have to say is, “That’s interesting. Thank you for taking the time to share that with me.”
You will find that most people are more interested in feeling heard than in proving they are right. And by choosing to listen, you choose love.
I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a thought about “Please Disagree With Me” in the comments section of this post.
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