It’s interesting to listen to people talk about issues. For twenty minutes they can embrace one side of an issue as an advocate. Then abruptly, they will say something that contradicts their initial position a short time later.
You must be thinking that I am talking about politics, but I am not.
As a parent who defends school discipline when other children are punished. But their views change when their child is the one being punished. Calling the policy uneven, unfair and unjust.
Or a discussion about organizational design. Where someone is not in favor of keeping the status quo yet says strongly that pieces of it must stay without question.
Telling others that you are not a fussy eater. Then when hearing where the group decides to eat, you strongly disagree making noise that where they decided to go is not any good or what you were hoping for.
We all do this more than we think. These inconsistencies create confusion in our lives. They become corrosive to building relationships. Giving others the opportunity to focus on our negative thoughts and turn away from us. When all we yearn for, is human connection.
What makes us sabotage ourselves with the relationships we wish to nurture and the groups we want to be part of? Our egos want only for us to be comforted. More than anything, ego leads to the inconsistencies I’ve described.
Two concepts might help us navigate around these inconsistencies. One is the concept of “the greater good”. That the other person, the group, or the institution is worth more to us than our individual interests and we will “go with the flow”. Keeping what we believe to be true while avoiding taking an opposite view simply to make us feel good.
The other concept is that of “first principles”. I confess that I am only now building understanding about what this really means. That in any situation, you need to whittle away the fluff until you find those ideas or truths that can’t be disputed by anyone in the room. Especially with those that share conflicting views.
Building up from there a new and different understanding, that gives birth to a consensus that makes everyone feel good. Whether it involves a one on one relationship or a group relationship. Where no one is left out.
Preventing a toxicity of negativity from the air around you, giving optimism and positivity a chance to fuel and further strengthen the relationships that mean the most to you.