Your mama wasn’t my mama, so we learned different things while growing up. Most people, when it comes right down to it, still believe in, and maintain the values that they were taught growing up. Some go through a teenage or young adult search to re-find or re-define values and standards that are different from that of their family of origin, but, deep down, there are roots that we seem to keep.
Because we did not all have the same mama, we all have different points of view on many issues. From the political arena, the religious arena, the financial arena, to the global warming conversation or what foods to eat and not eat, we all have points of view. Those differences are what make life interesting and yet testy at times. Keeping our own core values while engaging with the world can, at times, be a challenge.
Years ago, in a weekend course, I learned a valuable lesson about points of view. When your point of view becomes the ONLY Point of View that you can tolerate, then conflict and stress arise. We did an exercise. Two people stood before each other and put their arms across from each other as if to arm wrestle. We were told to push our point of view onto the other person. As you can imagine, this pushing created clenched jaws, groans, and shows of force. Next, we were asked to not push or resist the other. That created a gentle swaying. We were at ease with each other.
Pushing your point of view, no matter the issue, on to another, or judging them as inferior because of their point of view is NOT YOUR point of view, creates tension and barriers between people. It can be tough to allow another their point of view when it is different than your own. However, it is in the allowing that you are able to dialogue with another without tension. In the dialogue, you can uncover and understand how they came to their point of view. Dialogue with curiosity. Dr. Stephen Covey said it best, “Seek first to understand, before being understood.”
Life is easier and less stressful when you allow others their point of view without trying to force yours.