When it comes to what I’ve seen in social media in the past several weeks, besides the typical “what I’m doing today” posts, it seems particularly full of “what I’m against” posts. The same is true with many conversations I’ve heard. The claims seem so loud with no room for conversation. Listening seems to be rare. Respect seems to be unusual. Keeping something in context and acknowledging the points of an opposing side seem to be nearly non-existent. There is so much finger pointing and pulling things apart to rationalize anger and position.
Where does that get us?
Many of the comments I saw within a particular week were copy/pasted. “This is what so-and-so is doing. If you agree, copy/paste and post/mail.” What if instead of copy/pasting, we posted an original source and asked people to process and conclude on their own? What if instead of “if you agree,” we asked people who disagree to help us understand another perspective?
We don’t have to fully agree with each other in order to be respectful.
What if we replace angry posts with conversations? What if we pause accusations with listening and respectful conversation? What if we built relationships, including with people we disagree with, instead of pushing people away? What if we we dug into background and implications in an effort to be informed and grow instead of assuming and spewing? What if we consider multiple approaches and sides to issues and solutions and walked alongside people instead of gathering “our team” while driving away the “others.”
I know some people’s response will be, “But I’ve tried that. It doesn’t work. Why should I be respectful when they aren’t?
Maybe what you do won’t have the impact on them as you would like if your goal is to change them. But when you respond well, the impact it has on you will help you grow.
Let’s be better. Let’s be kind. We can be firm with kindness. We can be truthful with humility.