Do you know when you’re blocking your opponent?
One day while my guy Ed and I were making a lengthy drive to Newport, Rhode Island, we got into a discussion about something that was a hot subject in the news. I assumed that Ed felt as I did. But that turned out not to be the case. Ed’s belief system did not match my own.
It became so frustrating trying to convert him to my way of thinking that I finally said, “next topic” to put an end to our conversation. Instead of respecting his ideas and beliefs, I felt an inner hostility. Talk about blocking your opponent!
Perhaps you, too, have had a similar experience. As we continued along the road, I alternately considered how to get him to see the light (how arrogant of me!) and how to release my need to prove myself right.
But then, whose light is right?
Ed is entitled to his own beliefs. And it’s not my place to change his views. We’ve had different experiences in life.
Instead of judging his beliefs, I would have preferred to show some compassion for his experiences and admiration for his willing to express himself and put his thoughts out there. Ed’s view as he expressed it, is not the popular view.
What’s truly important though is why did I feel the need to be right. Perhaps you’ve felt this way yourself.
There’s no need to take what someone says personally. When your ego acts up, there’s no reason to block your opponent by saying, “next topic” or “I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”
As hard as it may be, it’s helpful to release your feelings and look within. Ask yourself why you’re feeling insecure, and could it be that you are doubting yourself?
Also ask yourself why you feel it necessary to project your emotions onto someone else. Because it happens all the time – someone wants or needs you to feel as they do.
The key to remember is that we each have our own reality. And one person’s truth is not another’s. Ultimately, we each live in our own universe and what works for me may not work for you. After all, your truth is yours and no one can take it from you.
By hearing someone out whose truth may not align with yours and by keeping an open mind, you strengthen your own faith. And there’s a lot less negative energy generated, too.
And this came as a surprise, when I finally stopped to listen to what Ed had to say, it turned out we were on the same page regarding some aspects of our discussion, and I had a clearer picture of where he was coming from with his thoughts. He made some valid points.
Holding steadfast in your beliefs is okay, but it’s not necessary or wise to avoid or ignore other people’s opinions when they differ from your own.
It’s also not important to attempt to dissuade someone from their thinking, if their thoughts are not hostile and bring no action or harm to themselves or others and come from a place of respect for the common good of all concerned.
The 5 key things you’ll need to show so you’re not blocking your opponent and instead showing consideration for someone who expresses different thoughts or who tries to impose their truth on yours are:
1. Respect for yourself and your truth as well as respect for divergent opinions and the life experience of others.
2. A sense of humor. It’s not worth starting a world war when someone doesn’t buy into your way of seeing the world. Don’t take life so seriously. Laughter is a good way to diffuse your opposition.
3. Faith. Think of it as mental toughness. If you trust in something, why does someone else have to? It shouldn’t matter what someone else believes. Their beliefs won’t sink your ship if you have faith.
4. Compassion. First, have compassion for yourself. Each of us is courageous when we express ourselves. We open ourselves to judgment and criticism. To your own voice be true but also second, have compassion for another’s viewpoint. They are being true to their own voice. Admonishing someone else for their reality is to judge and not honor that person for their braveness in speaking up and expressing their own authenticity.
5. Curiosity. A questioning nature. When someone disagrees with you, ask them to explain further. We often dismiss people’s views when they differ from our own because we so firmly believe in our way of thinking. Without asking follow-up questions, we may lose the opportunity to learn from someone else, to fully understand them or to learn if they’ve fully understood us.
Not blocking your opponent may take practice to honor conflicting thoughts expressed by someone else. Remember not to take offense and to place your focus on loving and valuing yourself and your beliefs. By doing so, we develop stronger self-esteem and self-confidence.
As always, your comments are most appreciated. Have you ever wanted to change someone’s belief system or felt you had the need to be right? Or have you ever done battle with someone who tried to impose their beliefs on you? Have you practiced any/all of the 5 things mentioned in this blog post? Please share your experience. We here at the Feed Yourself Fully community would love to hear from you!