It sometimes appears as if we live in a “gray” world, full of ideas of tolerance and acceptance. Yet it is (our individuality) the black and white of who we are (including our character) that speaks volumes through the way we communicate, act, and treat others on a personal level.
No one can be right all of the time, no one is perfect. We cannot be right all the time and also be accepting of other people’s opinions and beliefs (differences). At some point in time, in all relationships, there will need to be a “middle ground”. When putting a difference of opinion into a middle ground category, we can listen and attempt to view individual differences from all aspects. The way we listen and respond to people’s struggles and needs not only impacts in the moment but can also have long lasting effects.
Obviously as a Relationship Educator and a writer I’m not afraid to “speak my opinion”. What I hope I have learned “better” throughout adulthood is how to listen first (with love) and to speak later (with words covered in grace).
Sometimes we may truly know “what is best” but if someone isn’t ready to hear what we have to say our words may mean little to nothing at that point in time. Time is a middle ground. Personal impact, change, and reconciliation can take time. If we are the person who is supposed to speak truth to someone an opportunity will present itself in the right time or even time and again. We may be the first person to “say” something, but it doesn’t mean the other person “hears” us.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t speak up. Speaking up paired with patience and kindness goes a lot farther than speech laced with impatience and rudeness. We also need to have an expectation that very rarely will total agreement ALWAYS be possible. Each one of us have feelings and personal convictions. We all have brains that think differently, we are uniquely made. Different, does not always equal wrong.
Meeting others where they are in life; through listening, showing grace, and figuring out life together, is in part how we meet each other “in the middle” over time.