When Opposing Views Collide

In developing our own convictions and point of view, it helps to gain clarity on the alternative narrative.

Think Pandemic. Many differing views exist. I’ll share two opposing views in a moment.

But we’ve all had this… We’re absolutely convinced of certain convictions in our life, and someone comes along with a differing point of view… completely different than ours…and we find ourselves in disagreement.

We share our views, and they share theirs… only to realize there’s little to no alignment. We start feeling our heels digging in.

They’re not seeing our point of view, nor we theirs! Two opposing views collide!

Funny, their heels seem to have a similar downward movement. Digging in. Is that our only commonality?

Emotions escalate as both sides attempt to unearth the others’ heels and bend them into seeing their point of view. We are right. They are wrong. Why can’t they see it??

Does that resonate?

As was exposed to me years ago through Dale Carnegie material… No one wins an argument. If differing views escalate to arguing and wanting to ‘win’, no one wins. A defeated person is not won over. And agreeing to disagree is a partial solution, but what else could be done?

Might we make a shift to at least seek to understand the other? To shift into their shoes for awhile?

In order for us to develop our own convictions and point of view, it helps to gain clarity on the opposing alternative narrative or point of view.

It may just land us in places we didn’t expect.

Now, let’s talk pandemic for a moment. We’ve all met someone who didn’t quite agree with our perspective on this. And there are many perspectives. Let’s take two extremes.

If you are one who sees the pandemic as real and serious, great. But don’t discredit those who may not take it as seriously as you do.

Maybe they are having a hard time believing it.

Alternatively, if you think the pandemic is a joke, a fraud, a scam… don’t discredit those who do take it seriously, who may have suffered in drastic ways.

To avoid deepening conflict when opposing views collide, what can be done?

Might we make a shift to seek to understand the other? What if we positioned ourselves on the side of the opposing view and explored why it might be the way they see it and not only as we see it.

We could be curious on things like…

Why is the other person positioned or believing what they do?

What makes this so important to them? Why are they so passionate?

Is there something I am not seeing? Do I have blind spots?

What stories, experiences and emotions might be shaping their opinion? How are mine being shaped, even as I listen?

What is convincing about their position?

Are there commonalities we are missing?

Am I listening to them? Am I hearing them? Do I appreciate them?

Can I clearly articulate their point of view?

Gaining an increased understanding of the other’s point of view is one of the best ways to process differences and conflict. There’s always a story positioned from both sides… and then the reality of what’s actually happening.

If we can take small steps toward growing a little bit closer we’ll soon realize that the problem shifts from being between us, to in front of us. And it’s always a win-win when we can face problems together. That reduces a lot of friction.

Of course this doesn’t just apply to a pandemic. This can apply to many situations and relationships in life. Working through conflict, and opposing views and convictions can be a source of broadening our perspective, gaining some alignment, and maybe gaining some friends along the way.

When we take time to hear others out, they may also ask what it is we believe and are convinced of. At that point, we’re in a much better position to speak.

This respectful way goes much further than confrontational arguments and stand-offs where no one wins.

Take a look around. Who is it that has a differing or opposing view…and how might I come to better understand their position?

“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable.”

David Augsberger

Top Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

Bottom Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Some thoughts on understanding beliefs

2 thoughts on “When Opposing Views Collide

  1. Thanks for this! It reminds me of something I recently heard about CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien: by some accounts, their friendship started because they disagreed about a serious professional matter. But the disagreement became a friendship because each was willing to look under the surface at the reasons for the other’s position. They put in the effort to understand, and then critique, in love. I think you’d agree that the world could use more of that.

    Liked by 1 person

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