What does it means to be bold when heading into a tough conversation?
Respect is the first and a key ingredient.
Respect for yourself and what you stand for.
Respect for the other person and what they stand for.
When we face differing opinions or perspectives, it its easy to transfer our differences to the person holding those differences. When we lump the issues and the person together, our emotions often get triggered and we attack the messenger. You have heard the phrase, "Don't shoot the messenger." This goes back to the days of Sophocles, 442 B.C.. Then it was referring to the person who was the bearer of bad news.
We too often see a differing opinion as bad news and this is where we can get the message and the messanger mixed up.
Or we can give a differing message in a way that is demeaning to the other person or they can hear it as a critique or judgemental message.
There are ways of being that enable us to give and/or receive messages as negative, judgemental or demeaning.
If we do to hold a healthy respect for ourselves we can give our ego permission to act in a gracious and forthright way.
Recently I was a part of a Zoom meeting. In a lull in the business the topic of vaccinations came up. It didn't take long for the conversation to go south by discussing anti vaxers, 666 er's. It started out fine and then the the tone shifted to one that was dismissive and diminishing of anyone who might not get the vaccination being all lumped together with the anti vaxers. I wondered if I should tell my story and so I did. I told how I had had seizures after a vaccination and my tendency to have overt negative reactions to prescription drugs. I mentioned that had created fear at first and then the demand to do my research and I did not yet know where I landed. The room was awkwardly silent and then a young man spoke up respectfully and factually about the need for us to consider not just what we say but how we say it as both of those can create division and make someone feel diminished. It is the challenge we all face as we pursue equity for all. We moved on with business and I continued to reflect on this gentleman's respectful demeanor and way of communicating in an awkward situation. He demonstrated respect for his own belief and the differing beliefs of others. I believe he was heard.
Take the time to weigh what you belief about respect and how you demonstrate respect when there are differences of opinion.
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