“Agree to disagree.” This is often what we attempt to do when someone else has an entirely different opinion. But it’s not easy, especially when we feel incredibly passionate about something.
So what do we do when we are upset about another’s opinion or viewpoint?
This was the question I was once challenged to answer for a group of High School students.
The girls were all very upset about the Presidential election. At the beginning of our time together, I gave them space to vent. There was a lot of “How could this happen? How could people vote for him? It is wrong that people agree with his beliefs.” There was a lot of anger, confusion and sadness.
I shared with the girls that there is what happens and then there is how we respond to what happens. We only have 100% control over the latter. I asked them if they preferred to continue to be upset or if they were open to moving into acceptance so that they could transform their anger into action. They all said yes.
I pointed out that by judging things as evil and wrong they were engaging in the exact kind of energy that they were upset by. Light bulb moment!
One of the girls asked, “Well then how do we deal with people that we really disagree with?? That we truly believe are wrong?”
“Great question…” I said, “And probably not the first time that you will deal with others who don’t share your view point so this is an amazing opportunity for you all to learn how to act and communicate in ways that create connection versus separation.”
The number one intention to have when dealing with a disagreement of any kind is to understand rather then want to be right. @ChristinHassler (Click to Tweet!)
We get absolutely NOWHERE when we just want the other person to believe what we believe. No one changes their mind because we tell them over and over again that they are wrong. People only change their beliefs when it is their OWN idea.
Before we can educate someone else on a new perspective, we must first understand where they are coming from. Why do they believe what they believe? How do they see the situation? Where did they learn to think like they do?
Getting curious about another person (or group of people) is much more effective and loving than getting angry about what they believe.
It is only through understanding another that we can then begin to ask questions that catalyze new ideas.
Yes, it is important to release our feelings when we are angry about an outcome or the actions of others. But there comes a point where it paralyzes us and moves us into the energy of againstness and we cannot create change from that place.
If we truly want to OPEN the minds of others, we do not do this by imposing our opinions on others. We must start with understanding. Most people are afraid to let go of their beliefs so attacking them with ours, just reinforces how much they will protect what they stand for.
We must see things from their perspective even if we do not agree with it. And from that place of curiosity, we can educate, inform and provide people with an opportunity to think differently.
Is there someone who you disagree with? Is there someone (or a group of people) who you are so angry at for what they believe and do? If so, I encourage you to reflect on my message to you. Really challenge yourself by asking if the anger and judgment is doing any good at all.
Open your mind to the possibility that anger and judgment toward others blocks your ability to tap into ideas that truly could create change.
Today’s message is not just about “light and love.” I am not encouraging you to move into passive acceptance. I am encouraging you to be more proactive in seeking to understand others so that you know what kinds of actions to take.
And finally, I want to share it was really refreshing to be among a group of passionate, involved and open young women! It reaffirmed my belief that women are continuing to step forward in our truth, power and love.
P.S. I have a new podcast where I coach people LIVE on the air. Head over to Over it and On With It and listen in for inspiration and action steps.
Christine Hassler has broken down the complex and overwhelming experience of recovering from disappointment into a step-by-step treatment plan in her new book Expectation Hangover. This book reveals the formula for how to process disappointment on the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual levels to immediately ease suffering. Instead of wallowing in regret, self-recrimination, or anger, we can see these experiences as catalysts for profound transformation and doorways that open to possibility. You can find more info on her website, and follow her on Twitter and FB.
Image courtesy of: Rawpixel.