Friday

Nope. Try again.

"You're doing it," my particularly bossy friend told me in college.*

I didn't listen to her. Not the first time. Not the second time. Not even the third time.
"Just come to the interest meeting!"... she finally wore me down.

And with this, I embarked on one of my most formative experiences in life:
Debate team.

For those of you not familiar it goes like this: every semester we got assigned a controversial topic. We spent all our free time at the library (back when you used microfilm!). Then we debated other schools whose students had done the same. But here's the most interesting part:

You had to debate both affirmative and negative.

You didn't get to pick. Often you didn't know which role you would play until the last moment. And many times you would face the same team from earlier but on the opposing side.

This turned out to be the best training in empathy I have ever gotten.

Because, you see, I was always known for being argumentative. *cough... shut up...cough* But something magical happens when you have to argue with yourself.

You might start the semester with an obvious bias but if you want to win you get good at making the opposing argument. And at some point every semester it happens; you suddenly recognize that both perspectives have merit. You can't help it. It just clicks...

empathy
Jessica Ruscello
...And not only intellectually. Not just a pie-in-the-sky idea. In your bones. You suddenly feel the truth of each part. It's highly disturbing.

I didn't know it at the time, but this would turn out to be a highly useful skill as a therapist from the beginning. Like my couples who couldn't see eye-to-eye, but to me it was easily clear how they were both right. Individual clients who struggled to not alienate others with their opinions, but I could see how they got there. Moms on both sides of the "mommy wars". People thrilled, devastated or indifferent to the last election.... I could go on. It all continues to end up in my office. One hour I enter into one person's reality and truth. The next hour; someone else's.

So here's what I want to say to you right now, my battered and bruised brothers and sisters. I am on social media too. I see and hear and feel all of the angst and all of the pain right now too. The division is sharp and it is real. It is hard work right now to connect with those who are different. It is what I call gut work. You have to dig so deep it hurts. So please hear me with love and gentleness when I say:

If you don't understand your opposition's argument, you didn't listen long enough. 

If you can't empathize with how they got there, you need to listen again.

If they seem like a monster devoid of a soul, you missed something.

If they seem completely stupid, weak, evil, whiney, inhuman or otherwise unrelatable? Nope. Try again. You missed something. I promise you.

Please don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that we can all see things the same way (or that we need to). What I'm saying is: if you can't see the human behind the opinion, then go back and start over.

Because working in families for over a decade has taught me one thing for certain: It is not our differences that break us. It is our inability to see the human being on the other side. Once we have lost that, there is no way back home again.

we are all we have
Liane Metzler
We each want a path back to the other. One that allows us dignity in our opinion. Listening and understanding (not agreeing) is that path. Without it, we are lost to each other.

Hold on tight to each other, please. We are all we have.









*Haley you know I love you. Thank you for making me do it.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Every One Out Here
    I'm from United Kingdom (GB), London. I never use to believe in lottery winning spell until i met Dr IyaryI who help me to win the lottery number, This is a great testimony on how i won 108 million Pounds on the Euro million Jackpot Draw for 2017. in my play lottery in the mega million lottery jackpot , I took an advice from someone called Wilson the person who talked about this great voodoo spell caster called Dr IyaryI the person placed a testimonies on a blog also on a face book saying how Dr IyaryI helped him win the lottery by sending him the winning number i was curious and i thought it was all joke not until i contacted this spell caster to know for myself how this work cause i have spend a lot buying tickets and i never win. I contacted him and he told me the necessary thing that need to be done and i did it and he told me to wait for 2 days and truly he gave me the winning numbers to play the lottery which i did, Can you believe my name was the first among winners. He told me (my son all i need you to do for me is make sure that you share this testimonies to others so that they can also win the lottery cause i do not have much time to spell on the Internet) so that is why i am sharing this testimony with you that if you want to win the lottery this is the way on-line tips can not help you,, i will forever be grateful to you,Email him for your own winning lottery numbers,driayaryi2012@hotmail.com He alone have the winning numbers to win the lottery, Because he is a gifted human being who is fully blessed to help other who are in need, All you need to do is to contact this man and make your life easy and wealthy.is email address: driayaryi2012@hotmail.com For all your problems and pains to be over i win my game...And also Reach him on WhatsApp Number: +2349057915709 Thanks Dr. IyaryI

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Please note that this (being the internet) is not a confidential or secure way to contact me. If you wish to speak with me privately, please call me at 916-270-7413 or visit my site www.CounselingInRoseville.com