You can’t open someone’s eyes with a baseball bat {Editor’s Column}

It’s human nature to want people to agree with us.

We all want to be right, and encountering people who don’t see things the same way we do triggers an almost primal need to correct and convince them they are wrong and we are right. We all do it, whether it’s with our family, friends, acquaintances or total strangers.

The bad thing about human nature is that it tends to be immature, myopic and less than compassionate. None of those qualities are conducive to healthy communication, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the not-so-brave new world of technology.

We’ve all been victimized by the brash salesperson, the zealous proselyte or the belligerent conspiracy theorist who just won’t shut up. In the old days, you just closed your front door, hung up the phone or walked away. In the days of email and social media it’s not so simple. It’s getting harder to walk away, and like trapped, wounded animals, we’re fighting back instead, and it’s getting ugly.

Here’s the thing, whether we’re speaking with someone in person or commenting on a Facebook post, if we’re trying to make someone see things from our perspective, we’re not going to open their eyes by clocking them upside the head with a baseball bat (real or virtual). Name-calling, faulty logic, and mangling the truth to suit our purposes are baseball bat methods. We need to return—or evolve—to a place where we can listen to an opposing point of view without being compelled to try and correct someone, where we can be secure in our own views and still be kind to those with whom we disagree. Why? Proverbs maybe says it best: “A brother offended is harder to win than a fortified city.” Once someone is agitated and rubbed the wrong way, they’re much less likely to change their minds about something.

Let’s grow up and move beyond the baseball bat method of trying to get people to see things the way we see them and start using more effective techniques, like listening, not judging, not assuming and being secure enough in our own beliefs that we aren’t threatened by differences in opinion. Just a thought.

Questions only pose a threat in certain situations.We shouldn’t be threatened by questions. Challenged, yes; threatened, no. If we’re threatened by a question, it’s time to step back and examine why we feel that way.

We’re headed into two more busy weeks for our communities: Septemberfest in Rangely during Labor Day weekend, and the annual Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials that starts next Wednesday. It’s a great time to celebrate the end of summer and get out and enjoy where we live.

 

By Niki Turner | niki@theheraldtimes.com

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