How we create conflict instead of solutions

We all see life in a different way. Our view of life is created by the decisions we have made and the experiences we have had. We then act consistent with the way we “know” life is and life responds accordingly.

For example, if you “know” that relationships don’t work, you will keep your walls up. You will act destructively and your relationships won’t work. Ultimately, our points of view shape our lives and determine what happens around us.

Some points of view have more power than others. Some strongly held points of view have power because they are part of our identity. We then fight to protect them because if we lose them, we lose who we think we are. Other points of view have power because they protect us from some hurt.

Strongly held points of view are very destructive. They keep us from finding solutions and they force destructive behavior. One way to see this is to look at the nature of arguments.

Whenever there is an argument, there are two people pushing their point of view on the other. No one is listening, nothing is getting resolved, and the cycle of conflict is escalating dramatically. Arguments are very destructive.

Fighting someone’s point of view is not only destructive, it’s insane. It doesn’t change how the person sees life. It does the opposite. It makes the person defensive and gives the point of view more power. Notice how strong points of view become when people are arguing.

You can’t change someone’s strongly held point of view, but you can take away its power. You do this by listening and by honoring how that person sees life. You don’t have to agree with what the person is saying and you don’t have to do anything, just listen.

It is physically impossible to have an argument with someone who listens.

When you listen to someone’s point of view, it no longer needs to be defended. This creates a safety that allows that person to hear your point of view. When all the points of view are expressed and not attacked, you can have a conversation about what works. Solutions begin to show up and the problem gets resolved.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that does the opposite. Look at the news. It is full of people pushing their point of view on others and fighting any opposing view. This destroys our ability to find solutions. We can’t find them because we are not looking for them. Solutions are no longer important. Pushing our points of view are now the name of the game.

As a culture, we need to stop arguing and start listening. We can then put our focus on what works based on facts instead of emotion. We can start creating a world that works for everyone. Our job is to become good listeners and to honor people for who they are.

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