We live in a day and age where everyone has very strong opinions about politics, religion, finances, parenting, etc. If you ever turn on the TV or check your social media you can hardly escape it. There are “talk shows” where the left argues with the right and the right argues with the left. As time has gone on I have become more and more aware of something that is happening as a result of all of this arguing – nothing improves.
All of this arguing back and forth on the countless issues that are available to pick from out there are just distractions to keep us occupied and prevent us from actually effecting change in the world. Being right might make you feel good, but it is not helpful. Let me ask you a question to illustrate the point. If you have strong political views as either a liberal of a conservative have you ever gotten into a debate with someone who holds opposing views? How did that turn out for you? At the end of the argument did the other person end with, “Oh I clearly see why you are right and I am wrong!” or did it end with them digging their heels in deeper and just driving a larger distance between the two of you? I am willing to guess that most likely you have not found much success in “converting” others to your side.
If being right and arguing with others does not effect change and help others to see what we believe then what could? In Andy Andrews’ book How Do You Kill 11 Million People?: Why the Truth Matters More Than You Think he shares an incredible insight:
If we want truly want to influence others to see what we see and believe what we believe we must first find common ground with them. We cannot have others view us an adversary across the table from them. We must help others see us as being alongside them.
It is so easy to see our differences we have with others.
So what would happen if we stopped pointing out everyone else’s faults and telling them all of the reasons they are wrong and we are right? What if instead we sought to better understand others and connect with them before we unload all of our views and opinions on them? Could we effect change if we had meaningful conversations with others and took a sincere interest in them? I believe we could.
I have strong religious beliefs and I have strong political views. I have had to learn to discipline myself to not engage in offensive and confrontational conversations with others in areas where I feel very strongly. I have found that when I am viewed as a friend as opposed to an enemy that others are more willing to listen to what I have to say. The challenge then lies in making more friends as opposed to enemies. A great way to do that is by taking a sincere interest in others and listening way better than I speak.
Here is something I have learned about communicating truths to others about controversial topics. It is not necessary for me to tell someone the answer. It is only necessary for me to encourage them to seek the TRUTH. The reality is the truth is true whether or not I have a great persuasive argument. What happens so often when we have opinions and arguments is we seek reasons to back up our side of an argument. If we instead set out to discover the truth then we will ultimately only arrive at one location because the truth is constant regardless of personal opinion.
Imagine what would happen the next time we spoke with someone who held opposing views from us and we simply connected with them and encouraged them to continue seeking the truth. They would dig their heels out of the ground and continue their journey towards the truth. If we are truly right then they will arrive at our same conclusions. If however that path does not lead to our side we must have the courage to examine our beliefs and be certain we are seeking the truth too.
Question: What is a topic or belief you find yourself disagreeing with others on? Comment below