This line was said by Rodney King back in 1992. He spoke these words as the city of Los Angeles was experiencing riots brought on by the acquittal of officers accused in his beating. His words have come across my mind quite a bit lately, and not just because of the rioting and looting of last week. There has been so much disagreement in the public view recently. There are people who don’t agree about politics. Some find that they can’t come together with others over their views on how the Pandemic should be handled. Fans can’t agree how and when professional sports should return. Of course, everyone believes their own opinion is the right one. Real growth for everyone will happen when we realize it is more important to get along with your fellow man rather than opposing him or her at every turn. Why fight, why disagree?
People need to listen to understand, not just to hear what is being said. While speaking to someone who has a difference of opinion with you, commit yourself while listening to not have a pre-planned response. While you are both talking, maintain eye contact. It helps to keep neutral facial expressions even if you do not agree with what they are saying.
It helps to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Try to understand where they are coming from. Even if you don’t think you can, try. Putting in effort usually yields results.
While talking with a person who has opposing views, be polite. Keep it civil. Be open, and smile. Do not forget to keep an open mind. Often times, even after disagreeing with a person you will find you have learned something. Even if your opinion remains the same, you may understand their side of things more. Hopefully they will also understand you more as well.
Question. Ask. Inquire. It is important to know what made the person arrive at the opinion they have. Once you understand their why, you may understand the reason they feel like they do.
Show genuine concern for someone, if not for their opinion. Whether you agree or disagree, it is always right to be kind.
When you are talking with someone with whom you don’t agree, determine which one of you is more passionate about the topic. If it is you, gently, calmly and in a smart way explain your points to make them see what it means to you. Seeing the other person being more invested in the topic – try to get them to show you why it means so much to them. Ask for examples, reasons.
You have to have self pride and self respect, sticking up for yourself, your beliefs and your opinions. When talking to others, and not being able to come to a conclusion, an agreement, a common ground – the best approach to take is to agree to disagree. I personally have seen, read and experienced friendships fracturing and ending. That is a sad occurence and is something that doesn’t need to happen. Please don’t let it happen to you.