“I just want to tell you that you can have a conversation with someone and completely disagree about something, and still stay calm and peaceful and loving …

Why do we have such a hard time disagreeing with other people and staying calm? Why do we feel like we either need to make the person agree with us or eliminate the person?”

This is perfect for MARRIAGE MATTERS MONDAY. But, do you know what? It is also perfect for MOTHERHOOD MATTERS MONDAY! I just thought of that – just now. Maybe I will add it to the line-up.

Yes, Bry and I disagree on some things. We disagree on some important things, in fact. But so do my children and I. And I think I work less on those relationships and resolving those disagreements than disagreements I have with Bryant. When Bry and I disagree, there is a really really good chance that he is right and I am wrong. But maybe I don’t consider that seriously when my children and I disagree. Let’s get into this, my friends. My curiosity is peaked.

What things can the children and I disagree on, that we don’t get mad at each other about? We disagree on whether or not my taco soup is the best. Really. Five of the six of us agree that my soup is the best ever. One of the six has strong feelings against my soup. And that doesn’t hurt my feelings. That doesn’t cause a rift in our family. We have a good laugh over the dinner table, and then we all eat it anyway. Right?

But when it comes to other things, we have a much harder time.

Why is it so hard to hear someone else’s opinion on something when we disagree with it? It’s really important that we answer that question.

“What are you believing that makes it hard for you to hear someone’s idea about what they believe? And do you want to be someone who needs to eliminate other people’s voices so you don’t get upset?”

Maybe I believe that by letting the children share their opinion, they will think they have the upper hand. Or maybe I believe that if I don’t correct them, they will think that I agree with them.

When my teenager starts saying things like, “I am never going to be able to do this thing.” Or, “This is the worst day ever”. When she says those things that I don’t at all believe, I am afraid that if I don’t step in and disagree immediately, she will let that false belief grown and fester until it becomes as true as she believes it is. Does that make sense?

Brooke suggests another approach:

“What if you said, ‘Tell me everything. I want to understand all of your ideas. I want to understand. I want to hear you and maybe ask you some questions about what you believe?’

When you’re coaching someone, it’s important to remember that your opinion is not relevant. We can help them see their mind and we can help them understand where they might be coming from and we can offer them different thoughts they may want to consider to think. But ultimately, what they do and what they want to do and what’s true for them is for them to discover and change if they want to…

But I know for sure that if you want to have any influence on anyone’s ideas, you’ve got to understand where they’re coming from first – you have to meet them where they are.”

And that doesn’t mean that we don’t tell them that we disagree with them. I think I can say to my teenager, “I don’t think this has been the worst day ever. I don’t agree with you.” But I don’t have to get defensive or angry about it. You remember, her belief is a CIRCUMSTANCE in the model. Her belief is neutral, until I put a thought to it. If I feel angry, it’s because of my thoughts about her beliefs. This is really important to remember. I cannot blame anyone’s opinions for making me frustrated.

“The only issue you have with what she believes is what you think about what she believes and what you make that mean.”

Just a few tips from Brooke – her words – on how to disagree with someone:

  • You need to know what you believe and you need to like your reasons for believing it. And also recognize that you are not the source of all truth. These are just your beliefs.
  • Listen and to hear, and to try to understand why the person might believe what they believe.
  • Be honestly curious about their differing opinion. Somebody told me that there’s a group of people that still think the world is flat. And I’m fascinated. Why do they believe this? What makes them believe it? What were they told? What did they read? Is there something I’m missing?
  • In that spirit of curiosity, encourage the person to Tell me everything. Tell me why that upsets you so much. I want to know. And see if you can hold space for that. That’s a skill. That’s an art.
  • Take a PAUSE. Notice your feelings caused by your thoughts while they’re speaking. If you feel yourself tightening up or getting upset or feeling like you need to advocate for someone or feeling like you need to rise up and resist what they’re saying in that moment, just notice that. Give yourself some space. Give that person some space to speak. Give yourself some time to witness your own thinking. And then choose how you want to respond. Don’t react. Don’t let your emotions react. Make a decision about how you want to respond. That might look like you or me saying, “I’d like to share my opinion with you too and see what you think.”
  • The hope is that you will feel, What they say matters, even if I don’t agree with them. When we feel that – when we believe that and think that within ourselves, we show up in that conversation different.

“There is space for me to be in a relationship and disagree with someone.”

I want to close with that statement because I think it really paints a picture. There is space for your opinion. There is space for my opinion. There is space for me and you to have a relationship, even when we disagree. Try to visualize that statement. It feels powerful. It feels respectful. It feels peaceful to me.


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