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From Their Side From Our Side

Starting in the 1950s Carl Rogers brought Pers...
Starting in the 1950s Carl Rogers brought Person-centered psychotherapy into mainstream focus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are an opinionated country.  Everybody has something to say about everything especially now with the social network sites.  We get so caught up in how we see an issue or behavior that we are literally blind to how the other person might see them.

I hope you believe that everybody is entitled to their own opinion; however, it is difficult to do when it involves a life or death question.  We often (when we have a conversation or interaction with others) spend more time thinking about we are going to say than hearing what the other person has to say and/or acknowledging it.

Active listening is one way to be sure we understand what the other person is saying.  (See the work of psychologist, Carl Rogers.)  We listen and then paraphrase what the other person has said.  At the same tine checking with them to see if we got the information right.

It is important in such conflicts to be assertive rather than aggressive.  It helps if you agree that a person has a right to their opinion.  You might say, “I can see where you might think I am being aggressive because of the tone of voice that you thought that I used.

Finally, a disagreement might be at least partly due to a lack of knowledge of what information the person used to come to their conclusion.  There are two sides to every issue.  That’s what debates are based on.  People can get so worked up about an issue that they jump to conclusions and leave no room for the other person to communicate what actually happened.

One way that a person might realize this is when they meet a person who represents the very thing they have condemned and gets to know them before they find out they are supposedly on opposite sides.  Such a person might be a Muslim or illegal alien or a conservative politician or stay at home mom; but the person with the stereotype doesn’t know this when he or she first meets them.

 

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