- Dora Nudelman
What Are You Fighting For?
There are times when we feel so passionate towards a cause, a belief, or a way of life that we feel somewhat obliged to share what we believe with the world. But sometimes, if we are not careful, that passion can become more about the fight than the actual plight.
When fighting you need to ask yourself, are you fighting against something or are you fighting for something? You may not think there is a distinction between the two, but the two are made up of very different energies. When you are fighting against something, you are focused on the very thing you dislike, i.e., the problem. But when you are fighting for something, you are focused upon the solution. So energetically, what are you really lining up with, the problem or the solution?
When you are telling people that they are wrong in how they think or act, are you also offering them an alternative to what they currently know? Are you diplomatically explaining your standpoint and giving them room to respond? Or are you shoving your opinions down their throats without at all considering their vantage point?
If you want to enlighten others, and perhaps even change their minds, you first have to empathize with their fears, understand their viewpoints, and then offer them an alternative, or at least a different way of looking at the issue. Telling people that they must change only makes them more fearful and defensive, especially when they don't know what else to do. But acknowledging their concerns puts them more at ease and makes them more willing to listen to what you have to say. And by being open to how others see the world, it also gives you a better perspective to help you find the solution that will actually work.
What are people afraid of? Can you speak to those concerns? Or if not, can you say something to open a dialogue? You cannot assume that you absolutely know what is best and right for other people. But you can share your opinions in a non-authoritative way. By being clear about your intention (i.e., wanting to help) you will be better able to inspire others to open their minds up to other possibilities. You see, when people feel understood, they also feel disarmed and more willing to listen to what others have to say. So in order to avoid conflict, all we really need is empathy. Then it will be less about being right and more about actually finding a solution.
It is not enough to fight; you also need to have an intention (other than to be right), and an end-goal that is beyond only yourself. Otherwise it becomes more about ego gratification than actually helping anyone. Talk from a place of equality in rights and you will have more open ears than defensive objections. Admit that everyone is entitled to their opinion, just as you are, and you will pacify others' reservations. When we leave room for personal contemplation and interpretation, we can then share our views without being seen as being pushy or judgmental.
Furthermore, understand that you cannot fight everyone's fight; but you can pick your battles. Just ensure that when you do, you know the difference between being committed to a cause versus being addicted to self-righteous condemnation.