People in our country and others constantly divide into groups and fail to communicate across the boundaries of those groups. I’ve thought about this problem all my life and want to find ways to help.
Much of the conflict in the world today results from the inability of people with different opinions to communicate thoughtfully with one another in efforts to find common ground. Each person has a different worldview and beliefs about events, politics, family and lifestyle both in their immediate environment and the world around us. Because of preconceived beliefs and growing tribal polarization, most of us want to have our particular points of view verified and embraced by others. Often time, conversations become one-way dialogues wherein a person has already made up their mind about an issue and is merely defending a position with the end desire being to convert the other party. In this case, the tools of persuasion used to convince others may, in fact, fuel increased disagreement and lead to unintended consequences.
Many of us want to know, ‘how can we communicate with those who disagree with us, so we both win?’ For one thing, we should always remember our goals. If we are interested in peaceful interaction with others, we should seek methods that encourage that result. I want to walk in the world and work for better understanding and resolution of conflict. I hope to advocate for change that makes it possible for everyone to live and strive to achieve their potential.
I believe we should embrace techniques of advocacy which use listening as a key component and use listening can be a major component of advocacy among those who have differing opinions. In my life, I have wondered how to reach across the aisle, how to talk to others. I am convinced listening is the key.
Listening can enable us to open lines of communication with others, in our neighborhood, around the world, and even in our families. If more people around the country engage in this kind of advocacy, our society can be transformed to one ready to embrace humane social policies at home and constructive engagement in international affairs.
Some links are listed below for more resources, and I have a short booklet on these ideas on Amazon.