I am, on occasion, opinionated. I have been told that I am often far more opinionated than I should be. In this context, I found myself listening to someone holding a strong opinion on a particular point. The strengths of his view included the fact that he was well informed, knowledgeable, and passionate about the view. The weaknesses, from my perspective, was that he came from a particular bias, found it difficult to see beyond his perspective, and had a self-centric view of the future.
How does someone tell another that his logic is flawed without tearing at his self-esteem? Is there a way to open up the More, so that he can see beyond the limits of his imagination?
I find that it is important to make sure the other knows they have been heard. It starts with the decision to listen intensely to the words and communication of the other. If it works, then one hears with the intent with learning. One also communicates one’s interest and what one has learned with the dialogue. It is a reality that this act in or of itself will not bring a consensus. It is a starting point for mutual understanding.
The second step in the process is to explore the rationale and reasoning behind their view. In this case, I found we shared intents. Where we differed was the context of the situation.
As our conversation continued, I found myself hearing an echo of an old Wisdom father. The words on this day echoed ones long ago. “I admit that I didn’t always hold to this position. For a time I thought it was my duty to oppose this Jesus of Nazareth with all my might.” (Acts 26.9)
I expect our conversation will continue. I am hopeful that we will end up sharing a viewpoint. If we do, it will be richer than where I started. I see more now than I did when our conversation began. The question that sits with him and me is the same. Do we want more that what we have?