How do we communicate with people who have different opinions than ours?
Discussions become polarized. It’s easy to stop listening if our views may not match those of others. How can we still empathize with others despite not having the same views, belief systems and political outlook?
As a global world we are self-isolating. This happened well before Covid. It is human nature to live near, worship and socialize among people who are similar to us. It’s hard to get out of our comfort zones. What we don’t know, we fear and reject. Media has clear sides of thought and expression which divides difference and perspective into more isolation and disconnection. Such applications support a belief system in which we have grown in.
The Internet has created algorithms and documents human behavior to help drive more familiarity and support of opinion to encourage consumer behavior and schools of thought. Perspective is reinforced and if others think or behave in a way that may not be in synchronicity to the algorithms, we tend to write them off. What if focusing on the outliers provided more insight to the bigger problem at hand? Is it right just to cancel people who are not of the same thought or opinion as us? When there is no dialogue, there is further fear and no opportunity to come together despite difference of opinion.
Relationships are complicated. We can relate this in family, community and workplace dynamics. Everyone has their own story, culture, experience and dreams. It’s quite fascinating to think how much our world has advanced in just these past 100 years, but as a human society; we seem to be moving further apart and disconnecting. We are not listening. We can make sense of the tremendous advances of our world, but we are not taking the necessary pause to digest what is around us.
In order to make sense of the chaos, listening and taking pause helps. If we continue to fight and push agendas that do not help the greater cause, we will be stuck and the pattern will continue to be reinforced. Different opinions and approaches to life make our systems stronger. Have you ever heard of a clarinet symphony? There’s no such thing and most likely it would sound super awful. In order for a symphony to give a great performance, there are many different sections with tones and movements that originally were relegated to a humble position as an introductory piece to the opera. We advanced as a society and now the symphony stands on its own. The orchestras continue to change and the ones that succeed figure a way forward that works in the communities they are serving. Structure is less important than leadership. The one size fits all model doesn’t seem to be successful either.
Any musical performance comes alive when everyone is playing in harmony, yet it only takes one person to be off-key and out of tune for the performance to be marred. We can only play one part, our part, at a time. If we listen to those around us, perhaps we will improve together in sensitivity despite our differences in instrument.