Oftentimes when I say something, I secretly hope people disagree with me. Not because I enjoy confrontation. I actually hate it. If someone started getting in my face, it would trigger a fight or flight response.
The reason I want people to disagree is because I recognize I am often wrong. I understand that my viewpoint is just that - mine - and it's one of many. What gives me the audacity to think I'm the only one who's right?
When people disagree with me, I see it as an opportunity to learn a new perspective. This might sound strange, but I get the chills - yes, I get tingly inside - when people counter my point.
In my head I think, "Oh nice, they're disagreeing, what could they have to say that might be more insightful than what I'm saying?"
Then I can decide if that new perspective can help me with whatever I'm doing. At the very least, I've gained insight into how someone else views a situation. That alone is valuable.
If we do this enough in life - that is, if we welcome disagreement - we find endless opportunities to "upgrade" based on what other people know. Both parties involved can get something out of it, if they choose to.
I recognize this might be difficult for some people to do. Immediately, people hear the word disagree and they tense up. They clench their fists, their jaws, their muscles, and most of all, they clench their opinions. They hold on tight, making it difficult to welcome (or even listen to!) another viewpoint.
If this is you, I recommend you notice when it happens, relax, then shift your attention to what the other person is saying. So often we get caught up in our own reactions that we're not able to hear the other person out with a clear head.
Notice the tendency for your body to get tight and your mind to start racing. Let that happen. You don't have to get involved. Simply relax and breathe. Then focus your attention away from your reaction, and onto what the person is saying. What can you learn from it?
Remember, you have one of thousands of data points on any given situation. Are you not willing to embrace the fact that someone else brings a different viewpoint to the table?
Whether it be at work, at home, or somewhere out in public, I recommend you try this out the next time someone disagrees with you. Do it enough and you'll be surprised where it can take you.
So, you've read my thoughts, and I'm curious. Is there anything with which you disagree?
Live with substance!