Discussions are better than arguments.
Arguments are about WHO is right.
Discussions are about WHAT is right.
I believe one of the most important skills we can develop is the ability to listen to a differing viewpoint/opinion without getting offended, defensive, or enraged.
The ONLY way progress can made – on any issue – is through open, honest, compassionate dialogue.
You should be able to effectively express your point of view – and listen to others – without getting angry or self-righteous.
Getting angry robs you of emotional clarity.
And don’t forget… ‘He who angers you, owns you.’
It’s ALWAYS better to stay calm, poised, and composed.
Own your emotions instead of allowing them to own you.
I realize that is much easier said than done… especially when discussing sensitive topics and personal issues.
But that’s when staying calm is even more valuable.
Don’t get me wrong, I love conviction.
I respect people that have immense passion for their beliefs.
I know I do.
And of course, I feel my beliefs are rooted in facts, common sense, and first hand life experiences.
But they aren’t.
My beliefs – like everyone else’s – are littered with bias. My beliefs are simply a manifestation of how I perceive the world.
The way I see the world is MY truth, but it’s not THE truth.
I have the humility to acknowledge that I have blind spots.
I have the compassion to also acknowledge everyone else does too.
Thus, I’m very open to having a respectful discussion with any reasonable person that has a different perspective than me… or that adamantly disagrees with my point of view.
That’s how I grow.
That’s how I learn.
That’s how I learned evolve.
In fact, I intentionally seek out books, videos, podcasts, and documentaries by people that have opposing views from mine… and enjoy having discussions with people that do not think, look, walk, or talk like me.
I don’t argue.
I don’t get upset.
I don’t get offended.
Instead, I try to understand their perspective (and the circumstances that may have informed it!).
That doesn’t mean I agree with them.
It simply means I’m open to listening to them.
It’s been my experience that learning to respectfully disagree with someone and still have a kind, thoughtful, productive discussion is a sign of intellectual and emotional maturity.
And THAT is something our world desperately needs!