I was recently doing what has become a regular daily ritual for many of us in this 21st-century information age.
And what is it you may wonder?
Well, I’ll give you a few hints. The ritual involves a cell phone, iPad, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer and one of my fingers. It requires minimal physical strength. But high eye and hand coordination skills and the dexterity to touch and slide or simply click at a rapid pace.
Yep, you guessed it. I call it super-scrolling. This is how I move through the never-ending feed of various posts on my different social media pages. As with most folks, some of the posts on my page immediately grab my attention because they pique my interest. Then, there are the others.
The others usually fall into one of three categories. My process to go through them goes like this:
- No interest whatsoever. (Keep scrolling).
- I disagree, but I’m lowkey kind of interested in what they have to say (Keep reading. But I keep my scrolling posture ready in case after reading more of the content it slips into category 3).
- I adamantly disagree. (Roll eyes, keep scrolling).
Category 2 can be Tricky
These are the post I read and may initially disagree with, but strangely, I click on them anyway. It’s like I feel as if I at least need to read what is being said. Although I’m pretty sure I’m probably going to disagree. But I remain open. Perhaps it’ll give me something to think about so I keep reading. I bet many of you do this too. Am I right?
It’s because as humans we are somewhat curious by nature. And sometimes our curiosity gets the best of us. In this scenario, it makes us want to know a little more. We’re curious about what someone might have to say about a certain topic. Especially one for which we may have a shared interest.
To be honest, this can actually sometimes be a good practice. It gives us the opportunity to consider other people’s views, opinions, and beliefs that are different than ours.
The best thing about doing it this way is, we get to do it within the comfort of our own space at our own pace. It’s not being shoved down our throat. And at any time we have the freedom to touch and slide or simply click away at our leisure.
The Reality of Agreeing and Disagreeing
In reference to agreeing. I know it makes us feel good when other people agree with us. When this happens, it validates the views, opinions, and beliefs we hold. However, when we are confronted with those who disagree with us. Our immediate reaction is to become defensive.
What we know from experience is disagreements can be awkward, messy, and uncomfortable. And because of this, we often avoid disagreeing with others. Instead, we choose our comfort over discomfort. It’s natural.
According to Spencer Greenberg. The reasons people disagree are caused by 9 “core reasons”. He asserts disagreements are caused by:
- Failures of logic
- Information processing methods
- Default beliefs
In a Psychology Today article entitled, Why We Hate People Who Disagree. Ph.D., Mark Alicke writes:
A potent and inevitable aspect of human cognition is to see the world through one’s own eyes. This shouldn’t seem surprising since our own eyes are the only ones we have, but it contradicts the admonitions people receive from childhood to see things from another’s perceptive.
In the same article he later states:
The gulf between what things feel like to us and to others is impassible: No matter how hard we try, we cannot enter another person’s subjective, conscious experience.
If this is true. Then how can we maintain a positive mindset when disagreeing with others when it seems futile to do so?
3 Practical Reasons to Consider When Disagreeing with Others
I have learned over time how to maintain a positive mindset even in the face of disagreements. Being practical about the reality of disagreements helps me to deal with the natural visceral defense reaction I have when I am confronted by those who disagree with my views, opinions, and beliefs.
Reality 1: I expect there to be disagreements. — There are over 7.8 billion people in the world. As I consider the sheer number of the world’s population. I understand at any given moment in time there are billions of different views, opinions, and beliefs present. Because of this, there will never (I repeat there will never) be a time when we all agree on anything. It’s not practical.
Considering this reality. When it comes to disagreeing with others. My mindset is to expect and accept there will always be people with whom I disagree. Thus when it happens. It comes as no great surprise. It simply “is what it is.”
Reality 2: I remember my current views, opinions, and beliefs have not always been what they are now. — This brings to my mind one of my favorite Malcolm X quote where he says:
“Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think, or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.”
For me, it’s a subtle reminder that we are all at different stages and spaces in our lives. This is primarily based on the culmination of our unique (and varied) life experiences up until this present day. There are views, opinions, and beliefs I use to hold that I no longer hold today and vice versa.
In other words. There is a propensity for people to change over time as their life experiences change. This includes their views, opinion, and beliefs. Who knows what experience another has had that makes them project the way they do on the surface. I try to always be mindful of this truth.
What I’ve learned is that sometimes you just have to “let people be people”; And leave it there. Sidenote, I say this so often in my home that for Mother’s Day one year my daughter bought me a purse that says “People Are People”.
Because this a simple truth no one can deny. What I know and understand very well is this. I won’t always agree with other people and they won’t always agree with me. But once again “it is what it is”, so I accept it and let it be.
Reality 3: I understand disagreements can sometimes affect positive change. — What I mean is this. There are times when it is specifically because of differences in views, opinions, and beliefs that we are forced (or should I say provided the opportunity) to come up with new, different, and better solutions to challenges we face.
During these times, disagreements become the catalyst for effecting positive change and are often exactly what is needed to coax us along the way.
Mahatma Gandhi once said:
“Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.”
I liken it to physical exercise. We may not like going through the process of doing it. But when we make the commitment to do it anyway whether we like it or not. We position ourselves to experience positive results because of our effort. This is often what the progress of positive change looks like personally and in the world.
My approach to keeping a positive mindset in the face of disagreements has not been scientifically proven. However, it works for me.
When I am mindful of the 9 core reasons for disagreements. And I consider the 3 realities about disagreeing with others. I am able to keep a positive mindset.
It doesn’t matter whether I’m scrolling through my social media accounts. Or, in a face-to-face conversation with someone.
When disagreements surface. Instead of being bent out of shape with people who express views, opinions, and thoughts with which I disagree. I remind myself:
- Disagreements are to be expected.
- I haven’t always felt the way I feel now about certain things.
- The disagreeing view, opinion, or thought might possibly be a catalyst for effecting positive change.
As I said, my approach is not scientifically proven. But it certainly has helped me to maintain normal blood pressure and keep a positive mindset in the face of disagreements.
What do you do to maintain a positive mindset when you are confronted by those who disagree with your views, opinions, or thoughts. Share what works for you so we can all help each other.
Until the next time…
Much Love & Peace,