Whenever someone questions or challenges something we believe strongly in we feel the need to defend. Often it even feels like we are under attack.
“Much of what I believe now and the relationships I have now have been greatly benefited by doing so. ”
In a recent podcast, Terry Neal mentioned he felt like he was in the hot seat. At that moment he was attempting to defend his views from the other three of us at the table with him. He was outnumbered and being bombarded with different points to consider that would challenge his view. Even though I believe this convo was non-hostile and respectful, I definitely understand how he must have felt. Later the next day while listening to a podcast with Professor and Psychologist Jordan Peterson, I learned why Terry felt under attack; why we all feel under attack in those moments. Simply put, we do not first separate "us" from "our view". Peterson explained that our views really aren't "us". We formed these views over time and often willingly change our views. For some reason though, when someone else presents a reason to question our views we instinctively feel attacked and start defending the view as though it is an extension of us. The first reason we should make a conscience effort to separate us from our views is for our own mental health and learning. Conversations, even difficult ones, are much more pleasant and easy to navigate when we aren't emotional invested. This alleviates all the tension, stress even frustration that can be produced in these moments. When you are able to navigate freely from one thought to another, or one fact that challenges another, you have a far better chance of truly learning and gaining understanding. Your judgment isn't clouded and you can make clear decisions based on the facts presented. Another good reason is for our relationships and friendships sake. Family and friends tend to be the people we want to discuss difficult matters with or at least can be the ones we talk to the most. These relationships could improve greatly if we all let our guard down, stopped identifying as our view, and openly listened and considered what others had to offer. Even if you don't come to the same conclusion, both parties can enjoy their time and conversation together. And who knows, one day after much thought you may end up seeing eye to eye.
The Trinity vs Oneness, Women Pastors, Baptisms, Christianity vs Islam, Democratic vs Republican and much more can easily be discussed once you separate yourself from the view and completely open up for a challenging and meaningful discussion. Much of what I believe now and the relationships I have now have been greatly benefited by doing so. Here's to civil discourse!