Harmony Over Hate — 5 Tips For Finding Common Ground in Turbulent Times
We are never going to share the same opinions with everyone we meet, but how do we find the common ground between us?
It’s time to be more accepting of those who don’t share our opinions. I’m as guilty as anyone else of wanting everyone to think and feel the same way that I do.
But they don’t.
And they never will.
Our job on this planet is almost certainly not to change people into versions of ourselves. And how boring would that be, right?!
I’m sharing five top tips for creating more harmony. Whether you use these with those who don’t share your political ideals, or in situations of disagreement with your friends or family, these will create more love.
The world needs love: let’s do more to create it.
Tip 1 — Hate Breeds Hate
How often have you read a post on social media and though, “Ugh, I hate that idea. And I hate the person supporting it”?
I know that I used to do this a lot.
I’d read Donald Trump’s Tweets, for example, and develop deep feelings against his opinions on all sorts of minorities. But one day I realised what a hypocrite I was.
Every time I allow myself to hate someone because they hate someone else, all I do is perpetuate hate.
Hate begets hate.
My hate says far more about the type of person I am, than about the person I am hating.
We don’t have to like everyone, but once we hate them, we are on a dangerous track.
Tip 2 — Similarities Over Differences
It’s so easy to believe that we are entirely distinct from those that don’t have the same opinions as us. I’ve come to realise, however, that even in the most heinous people, there are always think I have in common.
Hitler, for example, liked his dog. I’m a dog person, too.
And yet, I have no support for mass exterminations of minorities, warfare, or any of the other crimes that he was responsible for.
In an easier to relate to example, let’s take education services. Dependent on your political position, you may or may not believe that teachers should be paid more.
However, I think the majority of people would agree that all children deserve a good education.
Same general area of education and a similarity.
It’s time for us to acknowledge the similarities, rather than concentrating only on the differences. We can find more harmony by understanding where others’ opinions come from, and that starts by understanding that they are not so different from us.
Tip 3 — Changing Others Isn’t My Job
I used to be someone who tried to shape everyone into a mould that I approved of. I wanted everyone I met to understand where I was coming from, and to share my opinions. I wanted to be ‘right’ all the time.
Who cares about being right or wrong, though, when there are so many grey areas?
I’ve learned to accept that other people are not me. I am not so codependent now as to attempt to shape and control everyone.
We cannot control anything, let alone other people with their own free will.
It’s hard hearing opposing positions and to restrain myself from critiquing — or criticising — them. I prioritise letting the person know that I hear and see them, and that I accept them regardless of their opinions.
I have the choice of engaging and arguing my viewpoint, or simply accepting that I won’t be able to change their view in most cases. If I feel calm and balanced, and as though the other person is open-minded, I may choose to share my viewpoint. I do that, though, without expectation that the other person will take on that opinion for themselves.
Tip 4 — Work With The Opposition
I’ve found that community projects in the past year have shown me something huge: no matter where we come from, we have more similarities than differences.
This comes back to tip two, but it’s about making the effort to find people with opposing viewpoints. Let’s face it, we flock to our own normally, and so we often don’t get to know those who don’t support the same worldview. This leads us to assume that everyone is the same as us.
We have to force ourselves out of our comfort zone, and mix with those who are not the ‘same’ as we are. Working on community projects often help us to do this.
Tip 5 — Watch Your Mouth!
When someone says something you don’t like, you have options of how to reply. The words are important.
“I don’t get why you think that. How the @£$% can you even begin to think that?”
“I hear that you feel that. I see your perspective. I get you. But I guess what I believe is….”
The latter response shows open-mindedness. It demonstrates that you want to hear their viewpoint, and share your own. It’s a conversation, not an argument.
And yet, there will always be people you can’t have a conversation with. My sense is that Trump is one of those people! That’s when you simply tell someone you hear them, acknowledge their thoughts, and change the subject or walk away.
And there they are: my five tips for creating more harmony in your life. We don’t need to take sides on everything, we don’t need to fight with each other.
We need to fight for what we believe in, of course, but that’s not about fighting the people who believe differently to us.
Mass hatred has never got the world anywhere.