Show Respect Despite Differences of Opinion…

We are all different. We come from different backgrounds, different belief systems and different places. As a result we don’t share the same perspectives on life and ideas about things.

It’s a wonderful thing. But those differences can be a tremendous source of conflict. They can cause arguments and communication glitches in the home, workplace, and in every relationship in your life. Why? Because we haven’t been taught to respect.

What is respect and why should you care?
Respect allows us to authentically communicate our truth while appreciating other people’s differences. This opens up the space for us to mutually trust, live and work together.

But here’s something that undermines respect.
It is difficult to respect someone when we’re judging them. Judgment belittles another person’s gifts, opinions or perspectives. If you find yourself unwilling to listen, being critical, and or always wanting to have the last word, check yourself. You may be coming from a place of judgment.

So how can we promote mutual respect?

1. Appreciation. Appreciation is a first cousin of respect. It’s what inspires each of us to be the best we can be. All of could use some appreciation. We get so little of it, most of us crave it. And here’s the kicker. It’s possible to find something to appreciate in another despite disagreeing with them or having differences of opinion. And when we express appreciation for them, they’re much more open to what we have to say. Appreciation helps promote respect.

2. Authenticity. Being authentic is about being real with another. It’s about being courageous enough to tell someone what you really feel without cussing them out. Or the other extreme which is punishing them by shutting down and saying nothing, pretending everything is okay when you know in your heart something’s wrong and you’ve got something to say.

3. Think win-win. It means recognizing that others are okay just like you’re okay. It means you’re not better than the other person and the other person isn’t better than you. You are equals. It means honoring others for who they are and recognizing yourself as special too.

So here’s the bottom line: Every person you encounter is unique. We all have different stories, different feelings and different ways of seeing things. Each person in your family, your office, your faith community, your circle of friendship, your community is different. There’s nothing wrong with that.
What’s wrong is you seeing them as the enemy and yourself as the victim.

That’s why it’s so important to learn how to communicate so you build mutual respect, authentically express yourself and open the lines of communication.

We all need each other and we can all learn from each other. When we build mutual respect we can work together and create win-win solutions in the home, workplace, faith communities and in all our relationships.

Respect is not about manipulating another or kissing their you-know-what to get what you want. Some people believe that the only way to ‘get along’ with others is to be insincere, manipulative and tell people what they want to hear.

This is problematic and can lead to resentment, gossip and insincerity in relationships.

On the contrary, we can have deeper, stronger, more meaningful relationships if we learn to respect differences and communicate from a place of appreciation, authenticity, non-judgment and mutual benefit.

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