If you didn’t catch last week’s column, What’s Up World, you may want to check that one out before reading this one. As I wrote that column, I knew that it would stir some emotions from our …
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If you didn’t catch last week’s column, What’s Up World, you may want to check that one out before reading this one. As I wrote that column, I knew that it would stir some emotions from our community. Emotions based on the column being a little provocative for not only those on the extreme right or left, but even for those who are centrists. And the community did not disappoint. I made sure to take the time to respond to each email regardless if they were opposed to my position, some more than others, or if they agreed with me, as that was the point of the column, to address all points of view.
We can disagree without being disagreeable. We can debate content of someone’s opinions, feelings, or comments without being contentious. And we can certainly challenge one another by name without name calling. Which for some of you who reached out seemed to be your go-to move. I was called milk toast, with some other colorful language that preceded milk toast. I was called spineless, again with more colorful language. And I was called a coward, again with language inappropriate to repeat.
For everyone I responded to, I hope you remember how I responded. Whatever your opinion of me is, whether you read only this one column or have read more of my columns over the past 15 years, I am okay with you challenging my opinions and thoughts. I also shared with you that I do not agree with many of the things happening in our world right now, as a matter of fact, I am staunchly opposed to them. However, I am of the belief that if we continue the antagonization of one another we will only create a greater chasm.
Again, disagreeing without being disagreeable, debate content without being contentious, and stop the name calling, we are adults looking to have adult truth-based conversations that potentially bring us closer to unity rather than driving the wedge of divisiveness between us. And no matter how vehemently we disagree with someone else’s position or opinion, there is no way that violence is going to bring resolution to either side, it will always only make it worse.
One of our readers, Kay, who spends part of her time living in Colorado, and part of her time living in California sent me a beautiful letter with her thoughts around how we can engage with society when we feel like we are facing the negativity of the world. Here are some of Kay’s thoughts, “Before falling asleep, ask yourself about your day and how it went. And what can I do to be better the next day. Upon awakening, how can I make this a better day?”
Look, we are going to have differences of opinion, as someone said, it’s what makes the world go around. Within our circle of family and even amongst our closest friends we will have differences of opinions. But we will still celebrate and live life together, if we are mature enough, adult enough, and vulnerable enough to talk through it, debate it, and not escalate it to the point where we put those relationships at risk.
Our alternative is not pretty. We can write the script of our future and the futures of our children and grandchildren if we can just stop the chaos and nonsense of resorting to irrational behavior and instead, listen to each other and figure out how we can get closer to fixing the problems of our country instead of making them worse, escalating them to the point of no return. One reader sent me a message saying that, “This horse has already left the barn, the fight is on.” Is that really what we want, an unwinnable fight?
We are better than that, you are better than that. If you are one of the ones who appreciated last week’s column or opposed it, I loved that we engaged in an exchange of thoughts. And if you hadn’t yet emailed me, I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we can figure out how to disagree without being disagreeable, debate content without being contentious, and agree that name calling has no place in adult-to-adult conversations, it really will be a better than good life.
Michael Norton is an author, a personal and professional coach, consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator of individuals and businesses, working with organizations and associations across multiple industries.
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