Love vs hate (+ how to deal with people who don’t think like you)

I just returned from a friend’s wedding and I wrote this little note for you on the plane last night as I was on my way home. I want to remind you that I am not an expert. I don’t have all the answers for you. I’m simply a woman, on a mission, with an opinion, and a voice. You may not agree with me + that’s okay. But, that’s the whole point of this email. How to handle it when people think differently than we do. So here we go…

A few weeks ago, I wrote a short blog post in response to Oprah’s acceptance speech. You know the one…the speech where she talked about women speaking their Truth which was followed by the internet exploding into a mix of praise and criticism.

I watched as we, yet again, divided amongst ourselves.

In response to my original email, I received the same feedback. Some women hit reply in agreement to my post. But I also received one really critical email, too. A woman in our community let me know in a harsh and critical way that I was part of the hollywood elite and that she had respected my work until I wrote a blog that referenced Oprah. The email was long and it was mean.

I bowed to this woman and sent her love on her journey. I don’t have to agree with you in order to love you. I can love you and we can have different opinions.

I’m no longer personally offended if people don’t like me. But, it got me wondering, can we disagree with each other without having to hate the “other” side?

Can we maintain love even when someone doesn’t think like we think?

I was born and raised in Louisiana. Since leaving home at 18, I have had strong opinions and beliefs (political, social, spiritual…) that are in direct contrast to many of the people I love.

Learning to navigate disagreeing with people while loving them is not easy, but it has been one of my greatest teachers.

I wonder….Can we, as a society, do that now? 

Can we choose to come from of love and find common ground even when we disagree?

I’m not saying it’s easy. I am saying that I want to live in a world where we can state what we think without having to angrily defend ourselves, and simultaneously listen to what others think without the need to be right and prove our stance.

What if we simply disagree?

What if no amount of attacking or argument is going to get us anywhere?

What if, instead, we got really curious and genuinely interested in the “other” side?

And what if, when it got too heated or the conversation got too hard, we simply took some deep breathes and walked away to recenter ourselves?

We are all being called to do it differently now.

We’re being called to dance between speaking up AND keeping our hearts open when others don’t agree.

We are being called to have an opinion and to also have patience for this messy middle we’re all in right now.

This world is changing and we all have front row seats for the unfolding.

Personally, I’d rather be sitting in a theater with popcorn excited about what’s to come rather than jeering and throwing punches.

We are actually all in this together – even though it may not seem to be the case right now. It’s not us vs them. It’s us vs us and we’ll all lose if we keep dividing amongst ourselves.

Speak out when you need to speak out. Be angry when you need to be angry. Set a boundary when you need to set a boundary.

And, once again, come back to love.

This is the hardest work we can do. It’s a paradox and it’s master level work.

 

HERE’S YOUR CHALLENGE

 

Next time you find yourself triggered by someone else’s belief system, can you make it your mission to LEARN as much as you can rather than to win. 

Just notice how that shifts things for you. What is it like for you to get curious rather than to get mad? 

I am personally committed to standing in fierce love with an open heart. There’s simply no other way for me.

I pledge to come from a place of love. Do you? Comment below and let me know.

 

With love, always.

Julie

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Comments

  1. Kris Engebretsen says:

    It continues to amaze me how often the thing you really need, the words you need to hear, the guidance or encouragement you need, etc., just shows up at your doorstep with perfect timing. Just last evening, my husband and I started getting into a heated discussion about who we would be voting for in the state we live in in a couple of weeks. We have always differed politically, but over the years (married for 19) and just through maturing, we have slowly grown to agree or at least see and seriously consider the other persons point of view, and that has felt wonderful to me. Until this year, when things in the world and in particular in our country have pushed him in one direction and me in the other, like so very many people. As this discussion was escalating last night, I started wondering how I truly felt about this person in front of me who I was judging as making rash decisions in the wrong direction. Suddenly, I stopped the conversation and said, “We can’t discuss politics anymore, at least not this year.” The discussion immediately ended, and although I could still feel tension between us, we carried on with our evening in the same respectable manner we usually do and not acting as though we had just had a strong disagreement. Slowly the tension lifted and I knew that not discussing politics for the foreseeable future was the best decision for us, but as I laid in bed later that evening, I seriously started to doubt the bases for our relationship. We had started out back in the beginning of our relationship with very different political views which truly carries over in many respect to how you view and interact with the world and people. Maybe we weren’t meant to be together. Maybe I had made a huge mistake being with him all of these years. But today I was led to your post on FB about the Soul Camp (which also totally resonated with where I am in my life – crazy) which led me to this blog post. I’ve never seen or heard of you before, but since I enjoyed your discussion on FB about Soul Camp, I went to your website and there I found this blog. Reading what you wrote here made me realize that my husband and I can have differing political options, and I can still love my husband, and maybe I overreacted due to the heat of our discussion last night. He’s a caring, loving man and just because we don’t see eye to eye in this political climate, he is entitled to his opinion and I am to mine. Deciding to not talk about politics is the right decision for us right now, and we can get on with our life together, raising our two beautiful daughters, facing the world hand in hand, and loving each other. So thank you for sharing, and thank you to the power that is that brought your words to me today, in this moment, when I really needed them.

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