Living in the Wonderful State of Disagreement
Wouldn’t it be great to live in a place where there is disagreement? (yes… where there “is”…)
Let me explain what I mean.
I’ve noticed something about myself lately — I don’t like to be disagreed with! I suppose I knew it for years. There were signs… the funny looks on my face… or sometimes I cut people off… volume rising during conversations… people not wanting to enter into certain conversations with me… etc. So, I guess what I mean is — I’m finally beginning to “notice” that I don’t like to be disagreed with… and I don’t like the effects of it.
Just think of it… wouldn’t it be nice to live in a state of mind where someone could disagree with you, and it would be “ok”!?
When we are unable to disagree, we miss out on so much…
They said the world was flat… someone disagreed. They said the sun revolved around the earth… someone disagreed. Someone said, “It can’t be done!”… a bunch of people disagreed… and its getting done. I said, “It will never fit!”… guess what… it fits. I said “It will never work out…!”… my wife disagreed, and it did… work out, I mean. I thought we could never afford it… but she disagreed again… and it did, work out, again. Some in the early church had the law in mind… but some disagreed (see Acts 15)… and our freedom was the outcome. I’ve said more than once, “I’ll never be able to change.”… but Father disagreed… and I’m changing.
There are a thousand reasons why we might disagree — a thousand variety of thoughts and perpectives and ideas — so the problem isn’t with the fact that we actually disagree. The problem rests more with our inability to do it well.
There are several reasons I can think of as to why I disagree poorly: My own confusion, my own ignorance, stubbornness, fear of failure, my resistance to change, doesn’t feel good, embarrassment, have to think more, hurt, self esteem, self protection, self righteousness, etc., etc. (Does your list look similar?)
How about you? How do you do when it comes to disagreements? Are you easy to talk to? Easy to reason with? Are you ok with being wrong? Are you ok with someone seeing it differently? Can you “agree to disagree”? (really?) When you are disagreed with, do you have the same positive sense of self-worth afterwards as you did before your conversation? After a disagreement, do you feel smarter? Have you asked questions? Gained understanding? Did they feel heard? (A good question to ask yourself is, “Do I fully know why they believe what they believe?”)
The questions are good ones.
Taking some time with questions like these may reveal where you are suceeding and where you need some adjustments under the hood. There is so much we can learn from each other. I’m asking these questions of myself. And, I’m beginning to discover just how much I’ve missed.
So…. wouldn’t it be nice to be able to be disagreed with? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to hear what someone else thinks?… to know why they are who they are… what they value? … where their heart is? Wouldn’t you grow if you could stop to listen? What if you were to, during your conversations, formulate a question instead of forumlating your response? What if you were to ask 3 questions before giving your response? What if you were to have a conversation and never give your opinion, but instead thoroughly asked questions to understand their position? Now this is beginning to sound interesting!
This is important in life… in relationship… in faith…
Learning to listen and consider.
PS. In the meantime… I hope you’ll be patient with me as I learn to listen to you. And… in case it doesn’t show on my outside… my truest self wants to hear you… even if we disagree. 🙂