We live in a world full of individuals, each unique and beautiful in their own way. It is a statistical impossibility that everyone is going to agree on a given subject, whether it is the appropriate color for a living room, the toppings on a pizza, or how to achieve world peace. Sometimes, some people make the mistake of taking a difference in opinion personally. How often does your opinion on a given subject have anything to do with your neighbor three doors down (unless, of course, the subject matter is your neighbor three doors down)? Then why on earth should anyone else’s opinion about politics (or fried food or the price of tea in India) actually be about you?
Countless arguments could have been avoided by remembering that, just because someone doesn’t share your opinion, doesn’t mean they don’t like you, or even have an opinion about you.
Even if that opinion has to do with how you are doing something. Sometimes people have valid reasons to have an opinion about your methodology. For instance, they are your boss or your spouse, or the action in question directly impacts them in some way. At the very least, you might consider listening to their concerns and their input. Remembering that, regardless of how the opinion is phrased, it has nothing to do with you personally, will help you hear them better. It will also help you in discussing options and methodology in a calm, rational manner.
By staying calm, you open the door to hearing what their concerns are. Maybe they aren’t even directly concerned about your methodology. Maybe they are in fear. Maybe they were startled by something unfamiliar. Maybe they just want to understand where you are coming from. The less you take any of it personally, the easier the conversation will find a resolution.
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