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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Do You Always Have to Be Right?

"Confidence is being able to share your beliefs, wisdom is not being attached to them." Laura Barrette Shannon




There are so many unhappy people who would rather be right than be happy. It's easy to get caught up in sharing our point of view with others. It's a natural mode of communication. I share what I think about a subject and you share your thoughts about the subject. This type of communication goes on all day long. While it can be quite pleasant to talk to someone who shares your view, it can be frustrating to talk to someone with an opposing view.

More often than not, unhappy people will hold on to their view to the point of arguing. They would rather be right than to let it go. Somehow they have convinced themselves that if they can't get others to agree with them, then they feel emotionally attacked. This usually results in pompous thoughts of being smarter than the other person; obviously they are wrong and are too stupid to see it. The thoughts of judgment, the aggravation, the bitterness that can arise from these confrontations is all because they had to show everyone that they were right. It was more important to be right than to be happy.

So how can we interact with others who have conflicting points of view from our own without conflict arising? It starts with being flexible with our own beliefs. Listen to their viewpoint. Ask questions like, "Why do you think that is?". "Where did you learn that?". The second key to interacting with opposing viewpoints is to understand that it is not always necessary to share your conflicting thoughts. It isn't your job to teach everyone around you to see things like you do. It's ok to allow them to think differently than you do.

The most noticeable instances in my life concerning differing opinions is always politics. I've reached a point where I no longer put my two cents in these conversations. People are entitled to see the world from varying points of view, as each of us is unique in our perspective. By not attempting to invalidate other's opinions I maintain peace of mind amongst some very opinionated people. Sometimes I even listen and ask questions so that I can possibly understand why they see the world the way they do.

Example:

Man #1: "I think the moon is a spaceship for Martians."
Man #2: "That's an interesting point of view! What makes you think that?"
Man #1: "My grandfather told me when I was young."
Man #2: "Your grandfather sounds like an interesting guy. What else did he teach you?"

Example #2:

Woman #1: "I can't believe you are still married to John, after he cheated on you again!"
Woman #2: "It's understandable why you would feel that way. So, how's the new job going?"

It's not necessary to validate your actions and viewpoints to others. Be confident in your life choices and beliefs, but be willing to hear different points of view.

many blessings-

Laura

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