I have been doing Instagram lives with people, but mostly my brother. Those things are amazingly fun. Moreover, it’s confinement and quarantine time. There is so much a person can do before slowly going insane. At least, I have a house, a bed, food, heat, Netflix, my computer, Wi-Fi, and so much more. I cannot and I shouldn’t complain.
Last time we did a live, we went through a vast array of subjects. Aside from talking to my always interesting brother, other people were able to chime in and offer opinions. They were able to comment and suggest subjects to talk about during the live. At some point, the conversations became slightly heated and interesting because of the different opinions that were flying around. It reminded me of something: disagreements and how people take them.
I will just say it right away to avoid any misunderstanding: people will disagree with you and you better get used to it! That is a fact of life! People will disagree with you in all subjects. It doesn’t matter what it is. People might even disagree with you on something as basic and universal as “don’t kill people”. Let me disagree with that premise by asking questions. Who got killed? What were the circumstances? What really happened? If you tell me a father killed the person who raped and murdered their 5-year-old boy, I say it was well deserved. I will not shed a tear for a dead rapist and killer. Yet, some people would argue no matter how awful a crime is, no one should take matters in their own hands, no has the right to take a life. They would be right, in their own way of seeing life, using their own values. Who is right? Am I right, or are they? Interesting conundrum.
See what happened here? We just disagreed! Life is full of disagreements, so you better get used to them. People won’t necessarily agree with your statements. You will never go through life without disagreements! It is mathematically impossible. The idea is to prepare yourself to a life where things aren’t easily given to you. Because of your opinions, some people won’t like you, they won’t respect you, they will use your opinions against you to humiliate you, to make you into a pariah, to hurt you. Going through life hoping for people to agree with you, that is a fallacy of historical proportions.
We have this need to convince others. We have this innate desire to convert other people to our ideas and our way of life. I also believe we have this need to connect with others and that’s why we learn other languages and we can adopt other people’s customs. The need to convert is ingrained in our DNA, reinforced by thousands of years of history, evolution, of countless migrations from one place to another. We want to convert others. What is the best way to convert people? Talking to them is always step one. Yet, talking implies we might disagree, we might hit a wall and that is always an obstacle.
So, when we are contradicted, or when people don’t want to listen to us, or when they don’t agree, we get tense. Usually, the first step is getting defensive and we retreat in our corner. We can easily see any resistance as an attack to common sense, OUR own common sense. I know something about that.
I have been sharing my opinions for more than 2 years now. It isn’t always peachy. Some subjects are easy to talk about, such as self improvement, loving others, being positive, etc. On the other hand, as soon as religion, sexism, politics, race, to name a few, are mentioned, then people get tense. Sometimes, I can even tell they stopped listening to me. I have had people disagree with me on so many subjects that it doesn’t bother me anymore. Before I opened my blog, I already had a thick skin. Yet, today, I must admit, it is even thicker. I get into many arguments with people who don’t appreciate my take on a particular subject all the time.
I have a confession to make: I sincerely don’t like it when people disagree with me. I will not hide this crucial fact. The primal center of my brain lights up. I think all those years of evolution buried in my DNA which was passed on to me by my ancestors, get awakened and I got to turn it off within a few minutes. That is why I never get irritated more than 2 minutes. As soon as I see a disagreement, I do my best to listen to the other party. I try to understand the other side but sometimes, it never works. When the other party and I come to an agreement, it does feel good and I see it as a victory of sorts.
Frankly, after a few disagreements, I realized something: I am not here to convince or convert people. I don’t believe in forcing anyone to do or think what I want. Moreover, we do need a little degree of disagreement, otherwise, we become robots! My job is to share my own opinions. People are free to agree or disagree with me or if they feel insulted, they can stop reading my texts. I am not being dismissive nor arrogant. There are many people I don’t follow because of their opinions. I expect people to disagree with me and I got used to it.
So, whoever you are, you better get used to people disagreeing with you! I don’t care who you are or what you say! Please know they will always be someone who will disagree with you vehemently, aggressively, passively or simply won’t give a fuck about your ideas. It is up to you find a way to manage that dismissal, or plain disrespect or indifference. I have found trying to convince and/or convert others to be a waste of time. Speak, share your opinion, defend it, expect people to disagree with you and get used to it. Try not to take things personally. Some people will disagree with you to spite you, others will disagree with your ideas.
By the way, if people make a good argument, or prove to you that you were wrong, changing your mind isn’t a weakness. It is a strength. Listening to others doesn’t mean agreeing or disagreeing with them. It simply means you are hearing their side of the argument. Once they are done, you can decide to agree, disagree or completely disregard their opinion.
I do that when people tell me I curse a lot. I listen, tell them I understand their discomfort (because I actually and sincerely do get it) and then I politely tell them the cursing has a fucking purpose and it isn’t going anywhere. Another disagreement! They better get used to it and so should I!
I am still trying to master the art of letting disagreements wash over me. I am looking forward to the day it won’t bother me at all. For now, I am lucky. It bothers me just a tiny bit. Let’s not forget one essential thing: everyone is entitled to their opinion and I am entitled to not agreeing with others!
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day!