We all have troublemakers in our lives.
But occasionally, even the best of us become a troublemaker. But why, you might ask?
Sometimes it can be when something happens to stimulate us into action.
It could be that it is something we are passionate about, and it is a hot topic.
It might be an issue that has personally impacted your life, which makes it personal when you jump into the fray.
Whatever it is, what is something that has made you a troublemaker lately?
Recently I was a part of a conversation that had a lot of deeply felt opinions on all levels.
Many of the participants had different experiences, and some had no experience on the topic they were talking about, others had personally had multiple layers of experience.
It sparked something for me, about participating in a discussion online.
Discussions are amazing. They help us learn from others, they offer us different lessons that others have learned, and they give us the chance to express our opinion.
But if we are not open to learning, it is not a discussion, it is a open disaster session. It is kind of like inviting someone over, and giving them food that you know they are allergic to. It may not kill them, but it likely will make them very sick. It could kill them though. It could cause them severe anxiety. And if you say, “I was just wanting to see what would happen. How dare you accuse me of trying to hurt someone!” It feels painful for the others that are used by you.
1. Ask a question with an open mind. Be willing to learn from others that may have had different experiences than you.
2. Give an open and honest opinion on what you think, right from the beginning. Don’t wait until they have all stated their opinions and then go through and shoot down every single one of them.
3. When someone points out that because of their experiences, your opinion is less than gracious, be humbly apologetic. It doesn’t mean you have to change your opinion. But you do not have to tell them things like, “You are too close to the situation, therefore you cannot have a clear opinion.” This is a ridiculous statement for so many reasons, but often the best person we can learn from, is someone experiencing it. If someone is learning something through trial and error and shares with you their hard lessons, maybe you can learn from it without having to experience it.
4. Refrain from patronizing statements. I am guilty of this myself, as it is easy to do. But check yourself before you do so. It can be really hard to listen and not just retort back when you disagree or you know differently. For me, sometimes things are just the way they are. Hard life lessons have taught me, “Um, nothing is black and white.”
5. Overall, respect others. These are real life people behind the keyboard. Don’t be cruel. Pain through words has a deeper impact than you know.
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Spot on Martha, well said.