Monday, September 29, 2008

mind mumblings...

What is peace worth? I'm not talking about peace on a global scale, but rather on a more personal level. The type of peace that you gain from knowing who you are and what you stand for. The peace that you get from expressing a well thought out opinion even though you know it will not be well received, yet, it is something you believe needs to be heard. Why am I asking this? Well it all comes done to family. I love my family extended and otherwise, but....some have an issue with opinions that differ from theirs and oh, do mine differ!!! Would I be better served by just keeping my mouth shut while attempting to harbor no ill will at the censorship? Or, would it better serve me to try to tactfully express my own opinions? I am currently leaning more towards speaking my mind simply because I really do yearn for a close knit relationship with family, and I don't feel that can be achieved by holding my tongue and hiding who I truly am. Yet, it can't be accomplished through the drama that follows any minor difference of opinion.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Before you try to present a conflicting viewpoint/opinion ask yourself what you hope to achieve by doing so. Having others accept your opinion as being the most right opinion is not as important as being accepting of other people and their perspectives.

I have learned, when someone expresses an opinion that I strongly disagree with, to respond first with: "That's an interesting perspective." Or "That's an interesting point of view." This statement validates the other person, shows acceptance of their attempt to communicate something they believe to me and frames their statement as what it actually is, one person's point of view, which may or may not be as accurate as someone else's point of view.

Then I try to find out if I am actually understanding them correctly. Most of the time, as they respond to relevant questions, I learn that my initial internal response was unwarranted, that our opinions really are not that far apart and that their perspective on the topic expands my understanding and changes how I think of the subject at hand.

I am trying to learn to stop believing that I fully understand what a person is trying to convey without a long and probing conversation. I now realize that when I think I know what someone else is thinking, I am almost always wrong.

Responding to what I think someone meant, that they said in a sentence or two, or said in a moment of emotional intensity, is almost always counterproductive.

Especially if my response is emotionally charged.

Time has taught me that most of the time when I react negatively to something said, my understanding of what they meant to convey is incorrect and that my internal upset is unwarranted.

By stopping myself from immediately responding to something that seems wrong to me and instead focusing on active listening, trying to make sure I understand, before speaking, then speaking in a manner that validates the other person's opinion, I end up learning a lot and growing closer to the person.

We trust and grow close to those who accept accept the communications we attempt to make, even when they might disagree and shun those who respond negatively to the things we try to communicate.

Bottom line - Bite your tongue, stop the internal upset, focus on understanding, validate the person and their opinion by accepting them, ask sensitive questions for clarification, to increase your own understanding of what they are trying to communicate. Think about the outcome of anything you may say and then, if you absolutely must respond with a differing opinion start with: "Another way to look at that is:" and then respectfully express your opinion about the topic, if they seem open to hearing it.

Often people are overly emotionally invested in their opinions and cannot handle hearing a different opinion, in the moment. I no one is going to die or suffer serious bodily harm as a result of not responding, it is better to hold your peace.