Biases make it extremely difficult to persuade someone with an opposing opinion. If it’s someone who respects you, you have a good chance. But even then, changing their mind likely won’t happen overnight.
“Be kind, don’t judge, and have respect for others. If we can all do this, the world would be a better place. The point is to teach this to the next generation.” – Jasmine Guinness
Often what prevents two people from seeing eye to eye is individual blind spots. It’s rarely a case of one person being absolutely right and the other person being absolutely wrong.
Because we also come from our own life experiences, opinions, thoughts and ideas, we may find that we don’t agree with everyone we meet. Which is fine, we don’t have to! Unfortunately, we may find that we fundamentally disagree on some things with the people in our life that we can’t just walk away from – friends, family, lovers. It’s good to practice being kind to someone that you, ultimately, don’t agree with, whether their opinions be political or social.
And the weak spot in most arguments is often in what wasn’t said. Lots of facts might have been stated, but what ones weren’t mentioned?
HERE ARE 5 WAYS TO BE KIND TO SOMEONE EVEN IN DISAGREEMENTS
1. LISTEN WITH AN OPEN MIND
One of the things that cause us to stop being kind to someone we disagree with is the fact that we sometimes close ourselves off from listening to them. We may already decide to ourselves what they think and feel, which makes it easier for us to close ourselves off to what they’re actually saying. A great way to keep the kindness is to learn how to listen to them, with an open mind.
Listen to what they’re saying so you can disagree with what they really think and feel, not what you’ve convinced yourself that they think and feel! Who knows, you may find that you were misinterpreting them all along.
2. THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK
If you disagreed with someone and they spoke to you with vitriol, would you feel very good about yourself? Would you want to listen to whatever else they had to say next? Chances are, you’re shaking your head ‘No’. Instead of allowing yourself to say something cruel, imagine how you would like to be treated in a conversation where you and the person you were speaking with disagreed. Talk to them as you would want to be spoken to. It’ll help you stay calm and kind.
Think before you speak and you may find that you can come to an agreement on your differing opinions.
3. FIND COMMON GROUND
Instead of starting off every conversation with the things that you fundamentally disagree with, find some sort of common ground that you can agree on. This will help you see the things that are the same about you, rather than continuing to focus on the things that are different. Being able to find a common ground means that you’ll both be able to listen to the validity of each other’s opinions without automatically tossing them out. After all, if you agree on one thing, you may find that you can agree on other things.
4.LEARN WHEN TO WALK AWAY
Sometimes, the kindest thing you can do is to learn when the debate is getting too much and it’s time to table the discussion. This doesn’t mean storming out of the room or ignoring the other person. Rather, you need to learn when you’ve reached your limit and you’re no longer able to engage in the conversation in good faith. And that’s okay! We all have our limits! Once you learn to recognize when enough is enough, you can table the debate or discussion for another time when you’re both feeling more calm and rational to continue it. Learning when to walk away can ensure that you don’t damage any relationships you may have with people that you disagree with.
5. REMEMBER THE POSITIVE FEELINGS YOU HAVE TOWARDS EACH OTHER
If you fundamentally disagree with someone who’s close to you, like a family member or a close friend, it can be easy to let the negative feelings overwhelm you. Instead of letting yourself focus on how you feel negatively towards them because of the differing opinion, focus on the positive emotions that you feel towards them.
in a circular way, when another person gets the feeling that you don’t really see much that’s good in him or her, that person is less likely to take the time to see much that’s good in you. Seeing the good in others is thus a simple but very powerful way to feel happier and more confident, and become more loving and more productive in the world, Rick Hanson, Ph.D.
It doesn’t feel good to disagree with someone, especially if it’s someone that you care about quite a bit. Unfortunately, we can’t all have the same exact opinions as our friends and family or even our significant others. What we can do is respect their opinions, and respect them as human beings. Part of that respect comes with learning how to be kind, even when you’re in the middle of a disagreement. This makes going through life a lot easier for everyone involved.
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