Simple advice from our meditation expert, Tom Cronin, on how to dissolve any friction between friends or family.
Believe it or not but I used to seek out arguments. I used to be the kind of person who’d regularly jump on their soapbox and find 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 point of view. I hoped I could turn them around and make them see things my way. As you can imagine, this required a lot of time and energy, and, worst of all, no one ever changed their view. All I achieved was highlighting the point of difference between us. Inevitably, my relationships deteriorated.
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? We spend a great deal of time in arguments 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.
Change your perspective
I believe there is another way. 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 empathize, you unite. When you empathize, you connect.
If someone else has a point of view that you don’t share, pause for a moment. Try and stand in their shoes. What do they see? How can all of their life experiences and world views have brought them to this opinion? Try and do that, and you will start to see your world shift dramatically. Watch how your ego wants to defend its ground, rear up and stake its turf and start to fight, then dissolve. From here there is no ground to defend.
Five simple words
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, or unity.
Open the dialogue with 5 simple words: “I understand how you feel.”
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.