Agree or Disagree?
Hi Friends! It feels like it’s been a gazillion years since my last Awesomeness Blog post! Sorry about that. Life's been busy and has kept me reading, writing, and spending lots of time with my family and friends. I’m sure it has for you too.
Most of these times have been great…yay! But unfortunately, like for everyone, some of these times have been not so great. I try to find at least one good thing about each day, but sometimes, what keeps my day from being really great is when I get in an argument with someone else.
You know those yucky discussions we have with someone when we disagree on something? Those uncomfortable chats we have with a family member or friend that can end in a big fight? Times like these leave us feeling frustrated, confused, and sometimes even angry. Don’t you think?
Everybody goes through these situations with other people because we all can’t possibly agree with each other all the time. Besides, everybody has a personal right to feel the way they do about something and everyone is entitled to disagree with someone else’s way of thinking or feeling. Life would be blah if we all just agreed with each other all the time. There would be no new ideas or ways of doing things. There would be a lot of just plain, sameness. Still, it can be difficult when we disagree with someone else. It feels so uncomfortable.
The good news is that a few years ago I wrote a book for kids about how to argue mindfully. I just finished rereading it to remind myself about how to get through these situations.
It is possible to listen to someone else’s opinion in an interested and open-minded way, even when you have a difference in opinion. It’s possible to voice your own opinion and be heard if you want to. Mostly, it’s possible to disagree with someone else’s opinion while still being respectful to them.
So…how can we be MINDFUL
during an argument?
Instead of talking, take a breath instead. Before you blurt out something you might regret later, take a moment or two to just breathe. Even if you have to excuse yourself and step back from the situation, (like going to the washroom or some other quiet place where you can be alone for a minute) take some time to catch your breath.
What’s going on in your body? Are you shaky or do you feel queasy? If you’re frustrated, confused, or angry, take a moment to feel how these emotions change the way you breathe. Inhale KINDNESS into your body as you exhale the anger out.
Continue to breathe in and out deeply until the pace of your breathing slows, your emotions are less intense, and you feel calmer.
When we don’t agree with someone else’s opinion, it’s usually because it goes against our own opinion or belief. But, before we can truthfully disagree with someone else, it’s important to hear them out and know exactly what their opinion is. That seems fair, right?
Listening to everything they have to say and learning exactly how they feel, helps us completely understand where they are coming from. Listen with an open mind and LOVING heart.
Whether we still disagree with someone or not, what matters most is that we have listened to everything they have to say.
3- BE HEARD
It’s your turn to be heard. Every fair discussion involves both sides having a chance to voice their opinion. It’s important for each person to express what is on their mind, so they can hopefully be understood by the other person in a NON-JUDGMENTAL way.
It can be such a relief when we express ourselves, and this expression can even relieve some of the uncomfortable emotions that we’re feeling in our body.
Frustration, confusion, and anger can easily disappear when we have a chance to be heard.
4- NOTICE what you’re arguing about.
Now that both sides are voiced and understood, notice what it is you’re arguing for (your opinion) and against (the other person’s opinion). It’s okay if you still disagree with someone else. It’s okay if you don’t like what they have had to say. They may not like your opinion either and what you have had to say. Learning each other’s views may not even make either of you feel comfortable. That's okay.
The point is, you have both been heard. You have both had a chance to freely express your opinions. Why bother arguing about it? You each have a right to feel the way that you do because everyone has a right to form their own opinion. You have come to an UNDERSTANDING. Why bother feeling bothered?
Notice how this understanding helps relieve some of the uncomfortable emotions you are feeling.
Many times, sticking to your opinion can be helpful, especially when it means standing up for something that is important to you. That is your right. But, what you think and how you feel doesn’t always make sense to someone else. Sometimes, your opinion seems wrong to them because it’s opposite to their opinion. Try having some EMPATHY when you want to understand where someone else is coming from. What would make them want to believe and think the way they do? Why do they feel the way they do? Ask them.
There are also times when we feel the need to agree with someone else. You know those moments when you just know deep down that the other person’s opinion makes more sense than yours? It’s okay to change your opinion. Sometimes letting go of your opinion and forming a new one feels good because it’s the truthful thing to do. That’s using COMPASSION.
Trying to find a resolution is important in every disagreement even if you both need to