You Can Make the World Better By Doing This One Thing

Image via Galit Breen

Sometimes when I'm scrolling through articles, blog comments, Facebook, and Twitter, I feel the need to move quickly, avert my eyes, and not engage.

What am I avoiding? Dialogue.

More specifically: Disagreements.

I see, and have engaged in, so very many misunderstandings. Most of the time, these are based on not knowing how to disagree.

Somewhere along the way, maybe as things have moved more online and less face-to-face, more to 140 characters than long talks over dinner, we've lost the art of how to disagree civilly. We either avoid the conversation (and sometimes the person) altogether, or we engage head on, losing the kindness I think we all have inside.

I've felt my own heart beat faster upon hearing–or seeing–others' opinions that differ from my own and have taken it to mean one (wrong) thing: That we can't be friends.

The art of dialogue is talking through the things we don't agree on for the sole purpose of listening.

This requires seeing opinions as thoughts rather than personal affronts.

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I was once told there's no change without discourse. Sometimes, that change might be external–your opinions might open someone else's eyes, and theirs might open yours. But more often than not, this change is internal. It's about listening to and learning from each other. But most importantly, it's about dialogue for the sake of the conversation–with no end result in mind.

What if we all entered disagreements knowing how to dialogue through them? The world would, indeed, be a better (and more interesting!) place.

The real question is “how do we do this?” Five life coaches share their best tips on how to dialogue through differences.

Image via Lindsay Christianson

Lindsay Christianson is a Holistic Health and Wellness Coach who focuses on helping you take charge of your health and discover your epic life of passion, purpose, and possibility!

About dialogue through differences, Lindsay says, “Being able to discuss issues, especially with those whom you know have differing opinions, is a crucial skill for learning and growth. There is a far greater amount learned of yourself in conflict than in perpetual agreement. You may find you are more flexible about something than you would have expected or more firm about something else than imagined. This challenging of values on a consistent basis helps you keep up to date on your own evolving viewpoint as well as appreciate how others came to their own perspectives.”

Image via Megan Gala

Megan Gala, MA is a Conscious Conception & Fertility Expert who presents a holistic approach to fertility and parenthood.


About dialogue through differences, Megan says, “When entering into a conversation where you know you hold differing opinions, rather than avoiding the conversation, try these simple steps:

  1. Before the conversation, make sure you are clear on your intentions and goals for the conversation: Why are you having this conversation? What would you like to get out of it?
  2. Set a goal to really listen to the other person. At the end of the day, everyone ‘just wants to be gotten,' and you would be surprised at how quickly tension can be diffused by just listening attentively without trying to formulate an argument or thinking of what to say next. You may also be surprised that you hear some points where you actually agree or could find mutual ground.
  3. When it's your turn to speak, do your best to stay emotionally neutral, keep your conversation goals in mind, and keep the conversation moving forward toward common ground instead of the all-or-nothing mentality that can often result in spinning your communication wheels and going nowhere.”
Image via Darah Zeledon

Darah Zeledon is an author, motivational speaker, humanitarian, and certified life and success coach (CLC, CPSC).

About dialogue through differences Darah says, “Enter the dialogue or debate skillfully with a few goals in mind. First, remember your objective is to preserve your relationship with this person so after the exchange, plan to quickly move onto something else. Also, the setting is critical; if talking politics, religion, your conflicting parenting philosophies–or anything contentious–plan to chat over a frothy latte or glass of wine. Above all else, remember: you must remain calm, rational and controlled; you're debating over issues, not setting out to attack one another personally so be mature, well-informed about your topic and practice emotional intelligence. If ideas turn inflammatory and it's going nowhere, steer the conversation in another direction or go duke it out on the tennis court.”

Image via Mari L. McCarthy

Mari L. McCarthy is the CEO and The Journaling Power Coach at CreateWriteNow where she informs, inspires, and empowers you to use journaling to create the life you want to live and to take action to continually transform your life.

About dialogue through differences, Mari says, “Sit down with a pen and notebook and take a few belly breaths. Then do a ‘data dump'–a free write … write your feelings about the conversation you need to have but don't want to face. Take some more belly breaths and turn to a fresh page and write at the top, ‘How do I?' and write, write, the answer.”

Image via Shereen Faltas

Shereen Faltas is the Founder and CEO of Awaken The Rebel, a movement where we help people to stop settling for less and live extraordinary lives by their design.


About dialogue through differences, Shereen says, “Even if you disagree with someone, it is best initially in your response to them to tell them they are right. This isn't because you actually agree with them. It's because when you agree with them, what you say when you express your true beliefs will be received by them in their unconscious mind. The second someone feels you have disagreed with them, they go into a place of defensiveness and don't listen to your response at all. So if you want to be heard effectively, then you can say, ‘That definitely makes sense' or ‘I tend to believe that.' And that is how you will most effectively be heard in a debate.”

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How do you feel about dialogue through differences? Will you try one of these tips? Or do you have a tip of your own? Share with us in the comments!

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You Can Make the World Better By Doing This One Thing

Galit Breen is the bestselling author of Kindness Wins, a simple guide to teaching your child to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She believes you can get your child a phone and still create a grass-beneath-their-bare-feet childhood for them. Galit’s writing has been featured on The Huffington Post; The Washington Post; Buzzfeed; TIME; and more. She liv ... More

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