The world is filled with people who have different views than you do.
Yes, you may know this, but it’s wise to stop and ponder this subject in depth. I promise you that a close examination will prevent many heartaches and help you understand yourself as well as those around you. Friends, family, a love, a stranger, an employer, a political figure, a religious leader. This is a skill to serve you well if you will listen with both mind and heart.
It is perfectly ok to have a different opinion than others, even if you part without common ground. You know this from your interactions with myself and your mother. We have always respected your views when talked about in rational and calm tones. You have heard me walk through my decisions, giving a plan path for you to follow in how the decision was justified in my own mind. Rarely have you disagreed once the process was laid before you. Why? Because, I believe, you all have rational minds and a natural love for the truth. You know we love you and want the best for you. We want you to use your minds, your hearts and to reason out thoughts and paradigms placed before you.
Don’t be surprised, however, if people disagree with you and passionately too.
The challenge in discussing any opinion, according to my own rational mind, is whether it is based on fact or feeling. This is an important distinction, because I truly believe a feeling is not wrong. It may be wrongly placed, based on false information, but in and of itself, its simply what we feel or allow ourselves to feel. Anger, fear, sadness and others are simply results of how we process the information in our minds, or rather the interpretation of that information. Feelings unfortunately become our religion in many instances, holding them tight to our hearts, shouting our pain and the troubles to the world. Yet in that pain and emotion, we may lose sight of the facts, the actual truth of the matter and seek to change the circumstances to lend credibility to our initial outbursts. We want our feelings validated, both men and women to a certain degree, though I believe men gravitate more to side stepping embarrassment rather than validation.
This is a slippery slope, to speak your heart without researching and working out the facts in your mind to accompany them. Many discussions I have been privy to have ended badly with parties offended, because I seemed cold, while the debating parties rambled on in their righteous indignation, silenced in the end by simply bringing up rational questions about their nasty, aggressive emotional babbling.
Be very careful when you have strong emotional feelings, even if you are convinced they are right. Let your strong emotions lend strength to the actual truth, not the reverse. Words form easily in the heart of anger or the depths of a wallowing victim. Words which cannot be easily taken back once loosed, if at all. If you find yourself in error, never fear to apologize openly and sincerely. If you do not, you have committed a greater offense. Good men and women of society respect those who take responsibility for their actions and words and it’s how I have raised you to act.
When you speak, always try to do so thoughtfully, respectfully, rationally and calmly. It’s bee a hard thing for me to practice myself, but when I have applied those very rules of conduct, my path remains clear and the barriers few that I cannot surmount. Always strive to be kind and benevolent. Show grace and kindness, reaching out to others and soothing their minds and hearts by finding something genuine about them which you can admire. This is possible with anyone, even if it is limited to the color of their shoes. Be kind and be peacemakers, standing your ground with purpose, strength and boldness.
Respect the opinions of others. Not necessarily the content, but rather their right to have an opposite opinion to your own. It’s what makes the world go round and more importantly, you will see when you marry, that to have a beloved spouse with another point of view is a great strength. It’s what I admire so deeply about your mother. She sees things I simply do not, yet we are one and thus I look upon it as having two sets of eyes. It has become a tremendous strength to me over the years. I find it absolutely priceless, especially when I have been the fool and I can be redeemed through another’s view.
When talking with others who are so desperate and determined to have their point agreed with, with no sign of laying a common ground, listen carefully to the way they weave their words. I say weave, because you will see a common practice to turn the focus on you rather than taking responsibility for themselves. There is, many times, ill intent involved at our expense. To turn other listeners or readers upon you through accusations and meaningless banter to cover their own mistakes and wrongful boastings.
Unfortunately it has always been a great pleasure of mine to deal with such individuals and I must say mercy should be the priority, so long as you do not yield the actual truth of your statements. I fear I have been a bad example in this matter. A bully is a bully, regardless of the medium, and people with ill intent take the truth to be hard. Let me prepare you then, in a better manner than my own rough conduct and give you a key to this process. Ask clarifying questions. Ask them to repeat and define what they are saying, so that you can better understand their position, their thought process and see if perhaps you missed their intent. Repeat their answers back to them. In print, keep records, especially on the internet, where your words leave, never to be erased from the memory of computers or the research of others.
If you will always say what you mean and mean what you say, standing on the facts, you will find little you cannot overcome. My advice, however, is to avoid contention and walk away from individuals who simply refuse to see reason or to discuss any subject with you in a respectful manner. It is fine to state things in a bold and matter-of-fact manner, especially if the truth must be heard.
In the end, understand that there are those who do not have hearts to feel, ears to hear or eyes to see, except for what they have crafted in their own minds and hearts. Those are individuals you must be wary of. They leave a wake of frowns and curses, and many of them love the contention just for the sake of contention. Soothe feelings if you can and pray for them. Pray their hearts will be softened and they will see reason.
…or that they will fall prey to their own snares.
Frankly, I prefer the latter.
With all my love,