Recently I have been put in various situations where I have been approached by someone who vehemently disagreed with me and my opinion. One situation could be described as political, the other personal preference/perspective, and the third, just downright difference of opinion rooted in bias.
I know we would all love think of ourselves as fair and unbiased but let's be real we all have our opinions that are all rooted from personal experience, perspective, and bias. And particularly in today's world we are constantly bombarded with information, misinformation, propaganda, and opinions. But why are we so attached to our opinions? Opinions are just that, opinions... When we begin to misinterpret opinions for fact that's where things get a little tricky. And here's the thing we are all entitled to our opinions, but remember everyone else is too. And just because someone doesn't share the same view points as you on which political party does a better job, which team is the best, or how loud the music should or shouldn't be, doesn't mean that they are a terrible person. Most often when we disagree it's because we have a different perspective, and are coming from a different experience.
When we disagree with others, it is an opportunity for us to grow. Instead of clinging tightly and defending our rock solid opinions, maybe we could consider another perspective. In order for this to happen we have to actively listen to the other person's opinion. What that means is instead of looking for holes in their argument to validate our own opinion, we actually have listen to every word they say. We listen with the intent of perhaps learning something new. You certainly can't learn something new if you are preparing your next response or doing all of the talking. And who knows maybe by learning something new your opinion could evolve and change.
And even if after we actively listen to the other person't perspective and still disagree, we don't have to take things so personally. We can choose to speak our truth in kindness, extending the other person as much compassion and respect as we can muster. Remember the golden rule, treat others how you would want to be treated if they disagreed with you. If this is particularly difficult for you it is because you are emotionally attached to your opinion. You have a personal attachment to the subject and your ego and emotions are now at play. If this happens, and most likely it will at one point or another, take a breath. Come back to the present moment. Unless you are in imminent danger, you don't need to get so worked up. When the mind perceives a threat the body responds by increasing insulin production and preparing your fight or flight response. A difference of opinion is a thought not a physical threat, remember to treat it as such. And if speaking your truth is not going to be kind, the other option for growth is to remain silent or walk away.
But when it comes down to it, does it really matter that we disagree? With everything that separates us, we have way more in common than differences. We all want the best for ourselves, children, and communities. We all want justice, compassion, brotherhood, and understanding. At the core of who we are we are all the same, we are connected, we are one.
We each have our own journey to walk, so if you choose to be disturbed by any Tom, Dick, or Harry who disagrees with you, or you embrace diversity of thought in hopes to grow, that is up to you. But eventually the journey comes to an end and in the grand scheme of things our opinions don't really matter at all.