I am at the Gathering of the Daughters, a workshop for newer members and staff in vocation/formation work. We are on beautiful Lake Michigan.
Our speaker, Sr. Lynn Levo, Ph.D, really captured my imagination with one of the points she was making today. Lynn said, “Don’t get mad, get curious.” We live in such polarizing times. Sometimes it is hard to engage in civil conversations sometimes when people say outrageous things, i.e., things I violently disagree with. However, getting angry, argumentative or withdrawing from the conversation does not really decrease the polarization in our world.
If, instead of getting angry, I put that aside and let my curiosity fully explore the view that the other person holds, I may be able to engage in respectful dialogue, increase my empathy for the other person (a key for mutuality in relationships), perhaps find some common ground, or at least not make assumptions about why the person holds their opinion. If we are ever to move pass the polarization that we experience in our world today, we have to start doing something different. I think Lynn’s idea of engaging the other person for the purpose of understanding their opinion, not changing it, may be a good place for me to start.