Each person has opinions about how life should be and the way things are. These opinions can be very different. They can also be very helpful. Different opinions can be a source of new ideas and possibility. The problem comes when we try to force our opinions on someone else.
We tend to attack any opinion that conflicts with our own. This is especially true if the opinion is perceived as a threat. To avoid this threat, we fight what the person is saying. We think that this will somehow change the person’s point of view, but it doesn’t.
Fighting a point of view doesn’t make it go away. Fighting a point of view gives it more power. It also makes the person defensive and forces the person to fight back. Then we get upset and fight the person even more. Without knowing, we create a cycle of conflict that brings out the worst in everyone.
This creates a lot of suffering. It also destroys our ability to find solutions. We can’t find solutions because we are not looking for them. We are too busy fighting and defending our position. Fortunately, this destructive process can easily be turned around.
I used to be a family law attorney and was very good and taking the conflict out of divorce. 15% of my clients got back together and of the 85% that divorced, most were able to part as friends. In the process of working with my clients, I learned a lot. One of the things I discovered was the power of listening.
It is physically impossible to have an argument with someone who is listening. Whenever there is an argument, there are two people pushing their point of view on the other. No one is listening, nothing is getting resolved, and the cycle of conflict is escalating dramatically. The moment someone stops talking and starts listening, the argument ends.
Once you hear the other person’s point of view and really get it, there will be an opening for you to express yours. Once both points of view are fully communicated, the conflict ends and you can start looking for solutions.
There is lot of divisiveness and conflict in the world today. There are also some major problems that need to be resolved. We need to do everything we can to end the conflict and put our focus on discovering what needs to be done.
As individuals, we may not be able to change the world, but we can certainly change the world around us. Our job is to do everything we can to end the conflict and look for solutions. To do this, we need to stop fighting what other people are saying. Let then have their points of view.
This doesn’t mean do nothing. Maybe you need to join a protest or write your congressmen. Do whatever you need to do. Just do it in a way that doesn’t fuel the fire.