Have you ever encountered someone who will fight tooth and nail to make you see their point of view? Or, maybe you were in a situation where a person is obviously wrong but is so damn sure they are right, they become angry?
Have you been that person?
If you have never been witness to those things, then you probably didn’t meet me when I was in my teens and 20’s.
I think almost everyone in my family exhibits this behavior. We like to prove that we are right as if someone is going to give us a higher spot in our family hierarchy. There were seven of us kids… there was a lot of competition, OK?
Eventually, I started realizing how draining it was to argue a point that someone else didn’t see. This was mostly in cases where I was trying to argue moralities vs. moralities. The problem with trying to convince someone that your moral judgment is better than theirs is that our experiences, and therefore our perspectives, are completely different. It is like trying to stab each other through a brick wall.
When someone sees a situation a particular way, usually their views have been molded to align with what they have experienced so far in life. Sometimes it can be as simple as being repeatedly told how to feel by other people (read: overbearing parents, some religious practices, etc). Sometimes a traumatic event has taken place and a person can now have more empathy towards others who are going through the same type of situation. There are so many different things happening to everyone all at the same time, there is no way we are all going to see eye to eye on every single thing.
Also, it can take a lot of undoing to get someone to change their point of view. I doubt a singular argument (especially on the internet) is going to change someone’s mind. For a person to change their perspective, they are going to have to experience the feeling – you can call it empathy, or a realization.
Now, as someone who liked to fight for their side of view (and sometimes still struggles with this), it took a long-ass-time for me to be able to set aside my ego and start trying to see the argument coming from the other perspective. Slowly, I learned that I didn’t need to agree with someone, but seeing where they were coming from was much more important.
It took a lot of piss and vinegar out of me to realize that I don’t know everything. This former “know-it-all” (although still a bonafide smarty-pants) can no longer even conceive the thought that she knows everything.
What a blow to my ego.
This shifted things from arguments to discussions.
I have often written about how I love to learn. I always find that I learn much more when someone else explains something new to me and gives me a visualization. I like when I can feel like I was at the moment or can really empathize with their feelings.
Over time I have realized that arguments are tiring. They drain me and make me vibrate with anger or the need to express my view for long after they are over. It grates on me when someone will give me their stance on the matter and have the attitude of “I’m right and I am not talking anymore” without explaining themselves. Instead, opening a discussion is so much easier on my heart and opens up the gates for me to learn.
I don’t know about you, but harboring any negative feelings weighs me down. When I can see where someone else is coming from, I feel so much less like they are an opponent and more like they are just another human trying to navigate this world with the perspective they were given.
I read a quote once that was attributed to Gautama Buddha that translates to:
“If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another.”
What rings true for me with this quote is trying to understand each other can be much more productive and kind than any arguments. Arguments are really nothing more than pissing contests that spiral into hurt feelings and the heavy weight of anger.
Maybe this quote could also translate into:
“If you truly loved yourself, you would try to understand another.”
But, you know, that is just my perspective.
If you like this post, you might like this one too: “Handmade with Love.”
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