We always have a choice about whether we focus on our differences or look for common ground.
Civil discourse is hard to find
Today’s world seems to be so polarized and contentious, especially in the area of politics. My friends and I all agree that unless we know the political leanings of people we’re with, we prefer to make politics an off-limits topic. Too often the discussions seem to degenerate into bad feelings.
A better way to common ground
Parker J. Palmer is a writer and social activist who has worked hard to find ways to bring stakeholders together for civil discourse, even when they have opposing ideas. In his wonderful podcast called The Growing Edge—which he cohosts with singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer—he suggests that when we find ourselves in conversation with someone whose opinion or world view seems too far distant to bridge the gap, we should learn to open a way to genuine dialogue by asking, “What do you most love in life?” He says it helps both parties to focus on each other’s humanity instead of their differences.
What a powerful tool!
Find common ground with that simple question, “What do you most love in life?” It might be children or elderly parents or a favorite book or love of the beach. Find it and watch that common ground become a bond.
Join us next month for another Heartspoken Moment.