Understanding Doesn't Mean You Lose
WHAT IS UP!
Where-ever you find your self sitting this moment I’m so glad you stumbled into this post.
I post a variety of helpful communication tips because it’s NOT a one size fits all.
THIS POST, however, IS SO IMPORTANT when engaging with people that hold very different values from you.
I’m inspired to share this because it took me a VEEERRRYYY long time to figure out why people automatically feel enemized (like friend-zoned but it’s the “used to be my friend” - enemy zone) when they find out a friend has conflicting values with theirs.
Yes I made up that word.
I started questioning this concept months ago with the increase in political tension in our country lately. Often people feel a “need” to belong to a side or a community, and cast out others that feel “differently” even if it’s the one thing that differentiates one person from the other.
For example :
Suzie and Lisa are good friends from a meetup group. Suzie believes in equal rights and Lisa believes there should be a set structure to the household where the woman is the mother and takes care of the home. They both have children, around the same age, and have a similar backstory.
However, often you’ll find that in this scenario, despite the similarities - the ONE big difference in value is likely to cause tension or separation in the friendship. ESPECIALLY when it involves making decisions together (weekend plans or how they raise their kids).
JUST BEAR WITH ME, I promise I’m making a mind-blowing point if you can just get through my story time.
I’ll spare you another story time backstory, but insert a name in this story with any value and add a commonplace and you’ll see what I mean - Read Further!
Q: Why do you feel threatened or repulsed by those who believe differently than you?
A: Because you are predisposed to think that showing empathy or understanding where someone else stands, means you’re agreeing with them or that you’re unfaithful to yours.
Did you catch that? That’s powerful information. Think about it.
We only feel threatened by the things we feel we can’t control or that will tell us we’re wrong. Not that we fear being wrong entirely, but who wants to believe in something so strongly just to find out they were mistaken?
Yep. No one.
So over time we’ve learned to avoid or distance ourselves from people based on how well our CORE VALUES align.
What I need you to understand, without me going too deep into psychology and community is that trying to gain understanding of someone else’s value or belief does NOT mean yours are invalid. Thank youuuu, someone said it.
So what does that mean?
You don’t have to be an asshole.
You can learn to ask questions and research, and submerge yourself in another person’s thoughts, culture, and experiences without being unfaithful to yours.
It’s been around since the early 20th century - it’s called EMPATHY.
Empathy doesn’t mean you’re agreeing with someone.
Empathy doesn’t mean you give up your values.
Empathy gives you the opportunity to gain perspective and reference in your own life.
We literally grow up in America with this word as a part of our vocabulary, and in the same lifetime so many of us refuse to practice this art. Empathy is a form of communication in a way that connects you with people of all groups and cultures.
If you believe in the bible, read the Quran and UNDERSTAND to the best of your ability how someone else may have come to believe their truth.
If you always wanted to be a mother UNDERSTAND to the best of your ability that everyone doesn’t want kids - and that it doesn’t mean they hate yours. They just prefer not to have their own.
If you want to be an entrepreneur or a boss UNDERSTAND to the best of your ability that some people really enjoy less stress and responsibility at work. There are people that enjoy a stable clock-in and out job - AND WE NEED THIS.
If you really believe education is the only way to success UNDERSTAND to the best of your ability that not everyone desires a college education, and every successful person did not attend college.
These are just examples of what I’m getting at because to be blunt with you it’s hard to write this out and give it the same UMPH it has in a speech - but here we are.
Empathize - don’t scrutinize.