You’re never going to agree with everyone. We all have been raised in different ways, with different education, experiences, relationships… and right and wrong are really on a sliding scale. Some things are more acceptable to me (but no more right or wrong), because I can relate to it. I have personalised the issue in my head as right and found some understanding in it. Maybe you cannot relate to it in the same way I do. Maybe you have lived a life I have not, and to you the issue is wrong because to you it was personalized as wrong or have experienced the wrong in your own life. This does not mean we can’t both be right.
How do we move beyond the stalemate?
I love to debate, to work through issues, and I’m prime to play devil’s advocate when I can. To me, it’s incredibly satisfying. It’s intellectually stimulating and I love it. But others do not feel this way. They feel attacked, or rejected, or that they cannot even bare to speak. Some have been altogether silenced. And some cannot even see the issue exists.
I don’t mind disagreements (and sometimes love it cause it really gets a good debate), but judgements are hard. Judgements mean having to remove an oppressive thought that has been cast your way. It hurts, it demeans, it demoralizes. But we are all guilty of it. I am guilty of it. Sometimes it is very hard to avoid. I have made many assumptions in my day, and I’m sure I’ll make some more in the future. That does not make me ignorant. But learn from the assumption. If you are wrong, you have stated wrong, and you realise you’re wrong– you apologize for the assumption.
I had a debate tonight that was most satisfying. Though there were definitely strong opposing opinions on a very personal subject, there was also a lot of attempts at understanding. This keeps the disagreement respectful, and allows for further dialogue. This is of most importance.
So if we have disagreements on how to do things, how can we resolve them? Do we even need to resolve them at all? Is simply opening a dialogue enough?
I think education is the way to everything. Education does not have to mean going to school. It means talking to other people, expressing yourself and hearing other people. It means reading as much as you can and digesting all the material you can possible get your hands on and trying to piece all this crazy stuff that’s flying at us a mile a minute all together.
And we need to speak our voices to each other, and use our voices or our words or our other communications in respectful tones. We must try to understand where the other party is coming from. Why do they feel the way they do? What experiences or education has helped shape their decision this way?
People usually act out in hatred because they feel threatened in some way personally. Once you start chipping away at the objections through open and respectful dialogue, you will unlock the reasons for their objections. You will begin to understand their way of thinking– whether or not you agree with it– you can at least understand why they would feel that way about the issue. And maybe you can put wedges in their thinking to help them to see that they may not have objections to all that you are communicating. Maybe you can both find common ground.
Silencing other’s opinions because we disagree with them is wrong. Disagreement is the way for change. Conflict does not always have to be bad. So let’s make it constructive and start a dialogue! I hope you’ll join me.