Lets Seek to Understand

March 15th, 2012
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Hello. Bonjour. Namaste. Salam.

I was recently with a friend and we were debating about a topic. We both had very strong opinions and we clearly disagreed which was pretty frustrating. It felt like we were going around in circles.  I said “I think this is the last time that I will disagree with you because clearly you do not understand my perspective. We are never going to agree.” Then my friend said, “Just because we have different opinions it does not mean we should agree. It’s not about being right or wrong but it’s about acknowledging our differences. Being aware and respectful of our differences is the beginning of understanding.”

Definitely an AHA moment. How is it realistic to expect other people to understand us when we are not willing to understand another’s perspective?

Imagine what our world would be like if we first started our conversations based on understanding. I was reminded of the Confucius quote “Seek to understand and then be understood.”

This quote is relevant now more than ever. The way I see it, there are so many fascinating ways that people live their lives from what people wear to their political philosophy to how they choose to enjoy their lives.  By choosing to understand, we can create conversations that are based on acceptance our differences as opposed to allowing difference to make us fearful of each other.

What about this: “You believe what you believe. I believe what I believe. And that’s alright. ” I believe that just because someone has a different perspective from us it doesn’t mean that we cannot try to understand where the other person is coming from. With so many people, cultures, perspectives floating around how can we all have the same opinions? The way I see it that would make the world pretty boring.  Agree to disagree but seek to understand.

I think the key  to this concept of agreeing to disagree is honest communication. I think that it is important to be ask the other person why they feel the way they do. While you may not be able to change the other person’s perspective, you will be able to understand it. Respect not only applies to people but also to beliefs. But agreeing to disagree we can respect other people’s beliefs without necessarily calling them our own.

I think that difference is an amazing thing and choosing to understand them can truly allow us to grow as individuals. Difference can be a possibility. Expand our perception of what is possible.  I believe that understanding is a mindset. It is a choice that can be challenging at times but I believe that it will allow me to learn more and grow.

I’m excited for the possibilities of understanding because by agreeing to disagree we can create more connections. By building connections we can learn more about the world we live in. You never know what you may learn.

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