Agreeing To Disagree: Learning How To Choose Your Battles
Is it possible for two people to see and hear the same event and yet each have a totally different perspective of what actually took place? Everything we see, hear or feel is processed and interpreted according to our past experiences. Being that all of us have different past experiences, we all have different versions as to what actually happened. Because most people don’t always say what they think or think what they say, the only way we can truly know what they are implying, is not by assuming that we understand their meaning, but by actually asking them straight out what they are implying. Many conflicts are based on misunderstandings and jumping to conclusions before inquiring about the perception and experience of the other person. I suggest to couples that instead of going into blame mode, try and understand how the other person sees the situation and how they have reached their particular conclusions. With the proper attitude, a couple’s different ways of perceiving reality can actually be a source of discovery. Become curious. Ask the other person questions such as, “What makes you see it in that way?” Or “What experiences did you have in the past that brought you to this conclusion?” Once someone is convinced that we understand them, they will be much more likely and willing to try and understand us and our interpretations. The term “agree to disagree” is a phrase referring to the resolution of a conflict or debate in which all parties tolerate but do not accept the opposing position. It generally occurs when all sides recognise that further conflict would be unnecessary, ineffective or otherwise undesirable. You are able to remain on harmonious terms while continuing to disagree about the unresolved issues. An important point to take note of when dealing with a typical ‘agree to disagree’ scenario is that neither of you are right or wrong. Keep in mind that you two are separate individuals with differing past experiences and beliefs. Challenge each other, use these arguments to learn and grow from what each other has to offer. If it boils down to neither of you agreeing after you’ve tried to put the work in to understand one another, then it may be time to agree to move forward and let go of this subject for now. If the issue is of larger nature and you are having troubles with moral values or lifestyle choices such as having children, wanting to experience something the other doesn’t agree with, big changes such as moving or taking a new job offer, these are topics that are very important to your well being and personal path and can’t nor shouldn’t be let go of with ease. Work together to understand each others views but if you are finding it’s going around in circles and the conversation is becoming heated, this is a great time to take a step back and agree to come back to this conversation at another time once you have had time to process each others views, separate your energy and cool off. Don’t hold off too long though because the longer you hold off, the more you may find a separation starts to come between you two. What’s going on in your world of relationships that could benefit from you agreeing to disagree? How often are you found bickering back and forth with your partner or close friends? .
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