Softening from Black-and-White to Gray
The biggest mistake that I see in conversations is when someone (sometimes me!) states an opinion or idea as if it was fact – talking about one’s viewpoint as “THE” universal viewpoint. How can anything that we say be factual? Everything we take-in is filtered through who we are – our values, our experiences, our emotions. I’d bet that the chances of any two people seeing anything the same borders on zero – they’re two different beings filtering through their unique beingness!
Your Next Best Steps
- Always preface your statements with words that shift your statement from fact to opinion. “My sense is …,” “My guess is …,” or “In my opinion …”.
- Have a sense of unknowing. This is where you’re open to other possibilities in addition to your own. A great exercise is to discard your 1st opinion as being true; then disregard your next (2nd) opinion as being false as well; then, come up with a 3rd different way of seeing something. This will help you to be more gray, more flexible, knowing that there are several explanations for most everything.
- Finish by asking the other person(s) what their sense of it is. Always, flip the conversation at the end to be able to see how another person views the same situation. When we’re able to understand all of the different viewpoints (no, it doesn’t mean that you agree with them, but you can) we then have a better sense of the richness and diversity of the people in our life.
Photo - Creative Commons lukas.bO "Grey Sunday"