“I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me.” – Dudley Field Malone
Everyone wants to be right today. When it comes to disagreements, either you agree with someone or you are completely against them. There is no middle ground or agreeing to disagree. I think we all wish this was just a problem in politics, but this problem is part of just about all aspects of life. I see it a lot while driving. It’s amazing to me how many people think they are the only car on the road that matters. I see it in the workplace. If you don’t agree with this one individual plan then you are against that person. There are times where someone has to be proven wrong. Sadly, the internet is filled with conspiracy theories that have no place in our society, and all they do is create problems in our culture. I think we all could list multiple examples of this, and debate all day about the origin of it. The best way to stop it is to be better.
How do we combat this way of thinking? It might seem easier to argue with those whose opinions are impossible to change. That is the easier approach, but it does not do anything to solve the problem. In order to bring about change we have to be willing to do hard things. The first thing we have to do is listen with the goal of understanding why someone feels that way. Too often we listen with the goal or finding a counter point, or we let them speak in order to give ourselves a moment to rest before we speak our minds again. It all starts with real listening. The goal should be to understand why they feel that way. It could be because of a past experience, family background, or there could be a negative influence from somewhere. The next thing we have to do is to see which parts of someone’s opinion holds truth. It could be perceived as the truth, but it is still their truth. We have to respect someone else’s truth before we can expect them to respect ours. Lastly, we have to be prepared to have our minds changed. This one might be the hardest part yet. Believe it or not, sometimes we are wrong, and that is okay. The point of listening to others’ views is to make sure we have the right view. Next time you find yourself disagreeing with someone take a moment to really listen, understand why they feel that way, seek the truth, and be prepared to have your views changed.
A quick note about the photos in this post. They were all taken by me last spring. I was riding my bicycle around Uptown Charlotte, and I stopped by Romare Bearden Park. The trees had just finished blooming. Some of the blooms had already fallen off the tree, but there were still some remnants left on a few. One of my favorite times of the year in Charlotte is when the trees are blooming. I try to get out as much as I can, and photograph the trees.