Why do you engage or disengage?
Sometimes it’s because we want to persuade people. Perhaps it’s because we care or because we want control. We want others to understand our side of things, our perspective, our conclusions. It might be our faith, political beliefs, or social issues. And maybe we disengage because we don’t like the turmoil.
Nobody likes to be bullied, and there seems to be plenty of it to go around. The solution isn’t to disengage. And the solution isn’t to join the approach and bully in our own way. In order to add value to the conversation, we need to consider how we approach and influence others. If our goal is to convince someone, as if we have to win, we will eventually bully. If we disengage, it’s likely out of response to the bullying we have experienced or seen.
When we decide to engage differently, truly caring for others—enough to not only share our opinion but listen to theirs, we attempt respectful, one-on-one, repeated conversations. We extend empathy, patience, and wisdom—always filtered through truth. We discern when to speak up and when to wait. We discern when to soak in a slightly different experience and perspective so that it changes and grows us. We can be alert without jumping to defensiveness. We can be truthful without bullying.
The loudest voices are not the only ones that are heard.