OK, really though. How many times have you heard this?
“It’s not polite conversation,” or “it’ll just start an argument” are only a couple of the reasons I’ve heard for this rule of thumb.
I can’t help but find this incredibly odd as well as downright stupid. So, what, we shouldn’t talk about anything that might cause a disagreement? Should we avoid all subjects that people tend to feel strongly about?
OR — now just hear me out… What if, instead of avoiding these conversations, we embraced them. I know, too crazy. We might find out that other opinions exist, and aren’t terrible! The horror. The bubbles we live in are so comfortable, and familiar!
Can you imagine a reality where we are able to discuss our differences in opinion — calmly, respectfully, and with a desire to understand? Just imagine the change that this could provoke.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” -Mother Teresa
This has always been one of my favorite quotations, because that is all it takes. One stone. Every action counts. Every conversation counts. Every act of kindness, every effort to understand, it all matters.
This is how we change the world.
So, don’t set your differences aside. Bring them front and center. Discuss them. Share your opinions and the reasoning behind them. Ask those who disagree why they feel the way they do, and make an effort to understand. Use empathy. Put yourselves in the shoes of whomever you’re speaking with. Try to see the world through their eyes.
Most importantly, be kind. Always.