How would you like to see an end to most of your arguments? How would you like to experience relationships that flow smoothly without friction? Well today you’re going to find out a simple way of dissolving an argument within minutes.
Many years ago I used to always be jumping up on my soapbox finding someone to argue with. I had very strong opinions about everything and if someone didn’t agree with my opinion I would vehemently defend my viewpoint. Like all arguments it was my hope to have them see things my way. This required a lot of time and energy and in nearly every case neither person would change their point of view. All that was achieved was the point of difference between us would become highlighted and there would have been a deterioration in the relationship.
Do you think that a Republican and a Democrat arguing will convince either side to change view? How about a socialist and a capitalist? Or a vegetarian and a meat eater? A Christian or a Muslim? We spend a great deal of time in arguments between people, states, tribes, religions and countries trying to convince ‘others’ to embrace our point of view. This results in heightened points of difference and very rarely, if ever at all, a joint agreement where both parties walk away united in one viewpoint.
So why do we do it? Why spend so much time trying to win a debate, which is almost unwinnable? More often than not these situations escalate into very heated exchanges, (yes sometimes war) which leave both parties worse off with very little resolution.
Is it the search for unity? Our relationships flourish through unity. Convincing others to see things from our perspective and not theirs is a great way to get unity. That is if they will succumb and actually see things from your perspective. But what if they don’t? Can you yell it into them? Beat it into them? Or in some cases even shoot or bomb it into them? It’s not a process that is working too well in many countries where there is political or religious differences right now is it?
There is another way though. Instead of convincing them to see things from your perspective, what if you were able to see things from their perspective? We can’t control their viewpoint but we can control ours. Empathy is a powerful force. When you empathise you unite. When you empathise you connect. If there is a viewpoint not shared by you, trying to understand their viewpoint will shift things dramatically. Watch how your ego wants to defend it’s ground. It will rear up and stake its turf and start to fight. Watch what happens if you dissolve the ego. From here there is no ground to defend.
Open the dialogue with 5 simple words: “I understand how you feel.” This immediately bridges the gap between you and them and brings you closer together. Instead of starting off from a point of difference you have now started from a point of connectivity, Unity.
This is the basis for a healthy relationship and also a good starting point to have a grounded and peaceful discussion around finding unity while still sharing different viewpoints.
In your next argument, why don’t you feel your ego dissolve and genuinely say, “I understand how you feel” and let me know how different the situation unfolds. I’d love to hear how it goes.
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