On occasion, I would find myself having a discussion with a person whose opinions and perspective are quite different than mine. There are also conversations in which the other party shares with me a challenge they are having. I used to see these situations as an invitation to provide my own opinion, or offer a word of advice. In the case of a difference in opinion, that would often lead to friction in which each party is trying to prove the other wrong. In the case of the other person sharing a challenge, the advice I provided was not always welcomed.
What I have learned is to simply listen, listen without making any comments. When the other person finishes to present their case, I would reply with, “I understand.” If my opinion is different, I understand does not mean I agree; just that I have heard them.
When it comes to a friend sharing a challenge, I do not offer an advice unless asked. The most that I will do is ask permission to offer my thoughts, saying, “can I offer my opinion?” When asking for permission, if granted, the other party is more likely to hear what I have to say. If they do not accept my advice, it is their choice, and I have learned to honor it.
This may be a little trickier with a spouse, a partner, or with my kids. Yet, they are no different. Working in the Light means that I commit to honoring the free-will of others, whether they agree with me or not. At times it is a challenge, especially when it is very clear to me that their choices are misguided, and may even lead them to harm. But it is the path I am choosing. I am learning to trust and have faith that if they stick to what they believe, it is by design and not mine to alter.
All this is still work in progress as I am shifting from old patterns into new ones.
Next time you see me and have something to say, if you hear me reply with “I understand,” you will understand why. 🙂