Each of us has experienced at least one situation that we are sure contributes to our feeling “negative.”
We feel sad, disappointed, conflicted, angry, anxious or judged. This can be especially true during this presidential election.
When we analyze how we feel, we may realize that our emotional downswing is in direct response to the positions or opinions of someone close to us — our spouse, child, parent, friend, relative or colleague.
We just cannot believe they feel the way they do. Our concern is that our feelings will affect other aspects of our relationship with this person who means so much to us. We thought we knew them. And now, everything comes into question.
We don’t agree with their opinions and as a result, we change our view of them. In fact, we may even think less of them.
Is this fair to the person and to our relationship?
This can be a challenge for many of us. A suggestion is that we listen. In doing so, we may get a better understanding of a side that we have not thought of before or a an aspect of an issue that went unnoticed. We can also do our own homework and have our facts straight; many people tend to parrot headlines or what they hear on talk shows. Finally, respect that the other person is just as invested as we are in their point of view. When we are so invested in a perspective, we can get more emotional in our discussions. Recognize when this is happening and table the discussion for another time.
Ultimately, though, might we consider that we owe it to them and to the relationship to at least try to understand what it means to “respectfully disagree?”