A review of, “How To Listen When You Disagree: Lessons from the Republican Convention”

Click here to view the original article by Benjamin Mathes on Urban Confessional.

As we all know, it can be difficult to listen to people who you disagree with, especially on issues which you have strong feelings about.  It can be even more tempting to block out those people and opinions on social media and real life so that you are surrounded only by people who think like you.

Below is an excerpt from Benjamin Mathes’ article titled, “How to Listen When You Disagree: Lessons from the Republican Convention,” outlining the key to understanding others:

…If there’s one question I get asked more than any other question, it’s this: How do I listen to someone when I disagree with them?

There are many ways to answer this. It takes a lot of forgiveness, compassion, patience, and courage to listen in the face of disagreement. I could write pages on each of these principles, but let’s start with the one thing that makes forgiveness, compassion, patience, and courage possible.

We must work to hear the person not just the opinion.

My friend, Agape, says it like this:

“Hear the Biography, not the ideology. ”- Agape

When someone has a point of view we find difficult to understand, disagreeable, or even offensive, we must look to the set of circumstances that person has experienced that resulted in that point of view.

Get their story, their biography, and you’ll open up the real possibility of an understanding that transcends disagreement.

Like the roots of a tree, our stories, which can create our beliefs, are completely unique, and also connected. It is through story that we can find common ground enough to co-exist in the face of great, often necessary, tension.

When you find yourself in disagreement, just ask one question:

“Will you tell me your story?  I’d love to know how you came to this point of view.”…

One lesson that can be learned from this article is that listening to someone with a seemingly incompatible world view to your own is a valuable exercise.  Listening can develop compassion and understanding which allows people with dissenting opinions to live side by side.

– Robin Schell