Everyone has different backgrounds, life experiences, beliefs, values, thoughts and ideas. Everyone is living life at a different level and at a different pace.
A wise and mature person is able to take a moment before reading and partaking in things, and ask some questions.
1) Is what I am about to read really true? Is it true for me? Could it be true for someone else? Am I in a good state (mentally and emotionally) to respond maturely and in ways that may open up discussion more?
2) What is it I am experiencing? (Reading, seeing, hearing, participating in) Is this just a one-time thing? Is this a normal for where this is coming from? Or does is stray away from the source’s typical approach?
3) Whether I agree or disagree, I am responsible for how I choose to respond. If I am going to take one stance, can I do it while respecting other views? If I am going to respond at all, can I set a good example for others to follow in how to respond well?
4) Am I going to allow this to impact me? Am I going to approach this with a desire to learn and grow? Am I going to allow this to strike a nerve and cause me to become emotional?
5) If I have strong response to this and give an immediate response would it create more harm than good? Can I come back at another time after I’ve thought about it some more and then respond?
6) Is my sharing of this going to bring about good?
What you read, hear and see might not always be a direct reflection on that person’s true values, beliefs and principles for living. So in commenting, realize this. No matter the stance the person placed in front of you, it is only that, one stance. And it may in fact not be theirs.
Many people today, of all ages, are unable speak. They are unable to speak out about what they are going through or about questions they may have.
We have a serious issue in our culture today where people are not able to speak. Some are allowed to while others are not. Some seem to get free reign in what and how they say it, others are not allowed to do anything but simply agree.
So as you go about your day, reading, hearing, seeing what is in front of you, think about how you respond to others.
Do you just have emotional reactions and demand others see things only your way?
Or can you pause, process, and respond with grace and respect – no matter how different the viewpoints or challenging the situation?
If you do decide to respond to what you hear and see, there are ways to go about doing so that encourage real conversation that can enlighten and create a place for people to speak, learn and grow.
Step back from the moment and think of bigger questions or calm, mature ways to respond.
“I wonder how this might…?”
“I’m curious as to how others from different backgrounds or countries experience this?”
“I wonder just how many different viewpoints or ideas we could come up with about this topic?”
“Is there more to this? Is it part of series or a bigger concept you are working on?”
“You know I feel strongly different about this. I’d like to share my thoughts.”
“I really agree/disagree. Here is why. I also know people though that have different experiences and thoughts and here are some examples.”
“You know I am disappointed by what I am reading. Perhaps I’m not coming at it from the same angle as the source. They wrote like this for a reason. Can I skip the surface and look deeper? Can we look at this some more?”
“Wow. This is a different stance. I don’t know if I agree/disagree. However there are a lot of people in the world and maybe some people do have that standpoint. I wonder why? Let’s ask.”
“Gosh, where I am from this isn’t even a question. Here is why. I wonder why where I am from, we have this stance, and how is it different for other locations? Hey everyone that is from someplace where this is the norm/not the norm – can you elaborate?”
“Yikes! So not what I thought it was going to be about.”
“I have a very, very strong response to this, but I realize others, even those experiencing the exact same challenges I am dealing with, might have different thoughts. And in their different thoughts about it, I might be able to learn how they are coping and rising above what we are dealing with.”
“I think it is great you took a different stance than is mainstream. I also really, really disagree. IS this your normal approach to things? If you have other approaches I’d like to check them out.”
“Hokey smokies! I really want to cuss left and right here. I so STRONGLY disagree.”
Do you see in any of those responses name calling, deliberate attacking, bullying, or shutting down open conversation? No. But if you do choose to respond in deliberate attack (on the source or others who may indeed share the same viewpoint or questions presented), this shuts down open communication.
When you shut down communication, people who may have the idea or solution to what you are facing might not speak up, and then it prevents you from receiving the answers you are looking for.
If you come across something or someone that you so strongly disagree with what they say or do, either don’t respond at all or simply walk away. Come back at a later time when you’ve put thoughts together than can encourage communication.
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