You know I have been thinking a lot lately on HOW we find common ground with those who see things from a different point of view. Many people over the years have described me as being cold, harsh and often too direct. I have been told that my words cut deep or that I am offensive. I cannot tell you how many times someone scolded me and said “be nice.”
This may surprise you if you have read my previous blogs or know anything of my life’s work. It would almost seems that I am two different people and there is some sort of disconnect or I am a fraud. In fact, I am not two different people. I would say that 90%, if not more, of what I do and say comes from a place of me trying to make life better for others… always striving for more for others first and then myself. A longtime friend stated that I am far more complex than people understand and so they engage me based on where they are rather than who I am. And I engage from who I am rather than who I know others see or want me to be.
You are probably wondering how does this relate to the HOW of finding common ground. This afternoon, I figured the key to common ground is not focusing some much on how one sees the world; it starts with the willingness to try to see things through eyes of others. While I know that my motives are often altruistic, I often do not see things as others see it. For example, in order for me to soften my words, I need to understand why those same words offend others. However, this is impossible without seeking to see their perspective. This is the path to common ground. I may not ultimately conclude that the words themselves are inherently offensive but I will be forced to think about how it makes others feel when I say it. Finding common ground is about seeking to understand rather than seeking to be understood. (He stole it and I just stole it – 🤓😏😈)
I do not agree that we should be nice to each other. My definition of niceness is wearing the façade of kindness when there is not kindness in your heart. I can, however, agree that we should strive to be kind. Kindness is what will motivate us to seek to find common ground. Focusing on understanding others point of view is how we find common ground. And a peaceful, stable existence is why we find common ground. Let’s all start with kindness.