How Do We Get to the Other Side?

How to (Nicely) Disagree at Work - The Muse

If you ask 50 people who know me (or think they do) about me, you will get a variety of responses.  Oh, that Ellen, she’s a talker!  She knows a lot of people.  She’s opinionated.  She swears like a sailor.  I’d be willing to bet that no matter what you’ve heard  – IT’s ALL TRUE!  Different things stand out to different people because different things are important to them.  Doesn’t mean that the rest is not true.  I have good qualities and I have some that I should be taking the time to work on to improve myself.  In other words, “I” don’t even like everything about me. Whether or not I address them – that’s up to me to better myself.  I have my good days and I have my bad days.  That human nature.

Politics are human nature to the extreme.  We focus on the thing we like (or the things we don’t) and wave it like a flag declaring our love and loyalty or disdain for all the world to see.  We must!  If we don’t, we will get more of what we don’t want – the qualities of the other candidate that we absolutely cannot stand.

So we jump with both feet on the bandwagon of what we like and become consumed with both what we agree with and what we abhor until we are consumed by driving our point home.  But are we wrong?

Every individual has his/her own lens to look through.  Because of our unique set of experiences, certain things are important to us while others seemingly go unnoticed.  Doesn’t make us 100 per cent correct; nor does it make us wrong.

The problem arises when the thing we abhor becomes so center stage that we “throw the baby out with the bathwater.”  I did this myself with Jane Fonda (just to use an example).  She was photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun on a 1972 visit to Hanoi. Vietnam veterans HATE her for this and have not forgiven her to this day. I wasn’t happy about her allowing herself to be photographed with the enemy either. But what gets me to explore more about her is my thoughts of all the things I did in my younger years that in retrospect, I would not choose to do today. If I were held accountable for things I did 30 or 40 years ago my life would come to a screeching halt!

To err is human; to forgive is divine. 

I make mistakes all the time.  Believe it or not – I seldom forgive myself.  I run and rerun things over and over in my head to imagine if I had just done this the outcome would have been different.  I torture myself.  Likewise, I believe those who make mistakes of a serious magnitude should be punished.  What I have found recently, however (and quite an epiphany at my age) is that my desire to torture those who I believe are guilty really only tortures ME. 

I don't Hate You Just Because I Disagree - Katherine Walden

No matter what side of politics you find yourself, the other side has both good and bad qualities.  It’s just that simple.  We have become so obsessed with focusing on the negative that we are missing the positive, and in an instant, closing the door on any and every opportunity we have to work together towards the common good.  If we spent one ounce of the energy we spend mocking those we do not like and applied it towards finding something about them we do like, we just might be able to work together.

Every single person I know and love has positives and negatives.  I accept them.  I may not like that particular aspect of their personality – but I still love them.  We have to get there with EVERYONE.  We have to start doing the work and finding that which we like about everyone so that we have a reason to work together.  We are only hurting ourselves if we don’t. 

Make a point today of finding the good in every person you encounter.  Focus on that good (not the bad) and see if your day isn’t just a little bit brighter.  One small step for man – one giant step for mankind.  Let’s learn to like one another!


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1 Comment

  1. Colleen Lochner on May 17, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Ellen, this is right on! In general, we humans while spending so much time on the negative, we’re missing the fabulous, positive moments. Great reminder to see people in a different light! Have a great day my friend!