Our relationships always give us the opportunity to see ourselves clearer and to show us where we need to go as well as how far we’ve come.
Recently, I’ve seen a lot of back and forth regarding the vaccine, and while this post is not meant to be a conversation on where I stand on this, I did want to write an article on how to better navigate varying opinions in our relationships in all areas of our lives, including with this modern-day challenge.
So, what do we do when we’re not on the same side, so-to-speak, especially when we’re really passionate about our stance?
The first part is to notice what patterns come up for you when you are experiencing a differing opinion with a loved one.
1. Are you quick to get in a fight or attack them, making them wrong and assuming you’re right or on the opposite end, assuming you must be wrong for thinking differently than them (or the masses)? (Often times, too, if you’re on the “dominant” side, this can come with ganging up or bullying the other person to try to get them to see it your way or do what you want them to do.)
2. Do you automatically get triggered or jump to conclusions, maybe even feeling threatened by them?
3. With this, do you go into blame, making fun of them or judgment and criticism, shaming them if they have an opinion or viewpoint that’s different from yours, maybe even talking behind their back?
4. Most importantly, are you open to both (all) sides of the conversation?
As part of this, notice what other patterns are coming up for you.
From there, it’s important to notice why these are coming up. With the above, for example, if one of your patterns is shaming, making fun of or blaming a loved one, this is likely related to feeling scared. Instead of deflecting outwards or posting something on Social Media trying to prove your point or make the other person wrong, go within and dialogue with yourself. As part of this, ask yourself, what you are really afraid of and what this is bringing up for you. While, in the example of the vaccine, sure you may be afraid of death with others not getting or getting the vaccine, you may also feel a loss of control in your environment or feel unseen or unheard, which is causing you to show up in the way that you are. It’s important to acknowledge and honor this.
The second step, after this, is to find understanding, or at a minimum, compassion, for your loved one. Maybe they’re worried because they have a high-risk parent or family member. On the other end, maybe they’re just trying to be true to and honor themselves or they just know that it’s not the right thing for them at this time. Whatever the case, even if you can’t see it from their perspective,
know breath and space always helps
in creating more openness and a potential dialogue when both parties aren’t triggered.
Most significantly, do your best to not let differing opinions cause permanent riffs with your loved ones. So much of the things we can fight about end up not being important in the long-haul, and even more, we often regret what these cost us at the end of our time here.
To being different, and yet, remembering deep down, we’re all the same,
P.S. – If you’re wanting to dive deeper in how to have hard conversations, check out my recent blog post here.
P.P.S. – If you’re wanting practice and support with how to dialogue with yourself to put an end to so much of the pain our relationships can cause us, come join me for what likely will be my final live Putting an End to Painful Relationships Masterclass. Over 300 people have enrolled in this class in last few months(!!!), and I’d love for you to join us if this is speaking to you or you’re needing support in this area of your life. Register here now.
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