What I found really fascinating is that human beings make meaning and create belief systems and defend those belief systems in such a common way. So let’s say I believe in organic gardening. I would start by sharing the joys and gifts that garden has brought me. If everyone agrees, then I might move on to another topic. If someone disagrees, then I would start bringing in documentation, or “evidence” of why my viewpoint is the “right” viewpoint. This rarely changes anyone else’s mind. The other will then bring evidence of why their viewpoint is right, and choose one thing out of context about my evidence to rip apart. And the duel goes on and on. By the third or fourth round, and especially on social media there are folks taking sides and offering more “evidence.” It is quite amusing if one can get out of the way and watch the pattern. In the end people will either part ways as enemies, or “agree to disagree.”
Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a wonderful human trait to have opinions and to be passionate about something. It is what makes us unique in all the world. Trees don’t argue over which soil type is the right one. Their roots my quarrel a little over real estate, but that is survival it isn’t “principles”. Birds may fight over territory or sexual conquests, but again they would never fight over which worm is healthier or the meaning of pollen.
What is it about us that makes us so zealous about ideas or philosophical ideologies? Wars are fought over these concepts. I always pride myself on my comfort with the gray areas, of not having staunch “blacks and whites,” yet this week, I was sure I was right in my viewpoint. I had to laugh at myself, and yes in the end I did decide that my friendships were more important than my ideas. I still hold my ideas, but I gave breath and space to my friends’ rights to their way of thinking. That too, is part of being human. We change our minds, we let go of “being right,” we choose again.
So this week if you find yourself in conflict, over anything, take a moment to smile. This is human! If you smile, you have already created space. Then ask, is this worth losing a friend or colleague over? The answer may be yes, and so walk away if they are worth losing, then don’t spend precious energy fighting. If the relationship is more important, then back up and listen to their point of view. You may not agree, but you can give space for them to hold their belief. And, many times I have found that people will give my thoughts credence when I first give their’s credence. Understanding is also human, and it feels good too.
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153059756828357&set=vb.74671163356&&theater This takes you to Amazing Plants, then search “When Plants Talk.”