This past weekend we were a “tailgate divided.” We went to one of the biggest college football games of the season; Florida State vs. Notre Dame. We went with some long time friends, who just so happened to be huge Notre Dame fans. For those of you who don’t know, my husband Greg is a die hard FSU Seminoles fan. As for me….I’m a Noles fan all the way.
As we walked around the festivities together, all day we got looks of confusion from FSU and Notre Dame fans alike. We sat next to each other in the stands laughing and very much enjoying each other’s company, despite our “difference in opinion.”
It was by far the most intense football game I’ve ever been to. I couldn’t help but giggle to myself as I listened to both Greg and his friend go from a friendly conversation with each other, to yelling at the top of their lungs cheering on their own team or trash talking the other’s.
When it was all over, FSU came out on top, and the Notre Dame fans left heartbroken at a surprising loss. With both men being such passionate football fans, and a game so intense, I wasn’t sure how the car ride out of the stadium would be.
Much to my relief, the tension stayed on the field; and the two close friends continued to laugh and joke with each other win or loss. As I listened to them, I smiled and appreciated the true friendship they have; seeing why it’s lasted the many years it has.
These two knuckle heads and their friendly football rivalry were a wonderful reminder for me on how important it is to be able to look past our differences in life and appreciate each other despite them.
All too often we get so focused on and wrapped up in our own beliefs of what’s right and wrong that we let our differences with each other drive us apart.
The reality is we’re all different. We all have our own opinions, and sometimes we will disagree. Those disagreements can be healthy and valuable if we handle them appropriately. We can make them work for us instead of against us. Here’s how:
When someone feels disrespected, you can almost guarantee they’ll shut down. We’ve all been there; someone says or does something to disrespect you and you’re hurt and find yourself wanting to remove yourself from that interaction as quickly as possible.
Sure, we will have different views and opinions, and sometimes we’ll be passionate in our opinion. That doesn’t mean we have to lose respect for each other. Maintain your composer, treat others as you would hope to be treated.
Listen with Open Ears
To actually listen is one of the biggest challenges we face when it comes to appreciating our differences. Most of the time, what happens is, one person will voice their point, while the other is only half listening, already preparing their counter attack.
If you’re on the other end of that conversation, and you feel not listened to, your natural response is to follow suit, and even become defensive. If, however, we give each other an opportunity to voice our opinions, and we listen to each other, you break through the tension that can build.
Sometimes when we find the humility in just listening to each other, we realize how much we can learn from one another. We can begin to understand the “why” behind a point of view. Our opinions still may not change much, but at least we gave each other a chance to express them.
Let it Go and Appreciate the Value of Another Perspective
The old adage “agree to disagree” is important advice when it comes to moving past our differences. We need to learn we can’t expect everyone to change and think the way we do. After sharing your opinion and hearing someone else’s, then let it go. Don’t let your desire to change someone gnaw at you. Let. It Go.
Having a diverse group of friends and colleagues is a blessing. We can learn from different perspectives which can help us to grow. No one’s perfect, none of us are right all the time. Keep your heart and mind open to hear another perspective and appreciate the value it may bring to your world. You still may not agree with it, but it may bring a new way of looking at a situation.
One of the most beautiful things about being human is our uniqueness. We all come from different walks of life and our experiences and opinions make us who we are. We can benefit from each other once we learn to look past our differences. If we have respect for one another, listen with open ears and hearts, and learn to let go of what we can’t change in each other and appreciate the value of another perspective, we can all benefit so much from those unique differences.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned from someone with different opinion than you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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