Monday, July 25, 2016

Is it Time to Stop and Listen?

I know I am not alone when I say I am distressed by the hate and violence in our country and our world. There is so much angry emotion swirling “out there.” I’ve mostly kept my concerns to myself, rather than provoke angry rants or put others on the defensive. After so many years in Human Resources, I have an over-developed sense of being politically correct and don’t want to risk offending others.
And, yet.
Each new act of violence, name-calling, and finger-pointing strengthens my belief that words can help us fix what’s broken and heal this divide. But only if instead of repeatedly arguing our own side, each of us could stop and listen—REALLY listen.
There are certain issues, like gun control and which lives matter, that I feel strongly enough about that I immediately slip into defensive mode when I hear an opinion that is different from my own. I want to learn how to take a deep breath, ask people with differing opinions questions that help me understand why they feel the way they do—to commit to not just hear but really listen.
I don’t want to just add my voice to the fray and rhetoric. If I’m going to speak up, I want my voice to make a quiet difference.
What do you think? Is there a way we can dial down the anger and frustration, have the courage to listen to understand each other and build a middle ground?