Thursday, April 12, 2012

How do you stand up for your beliefs?

I have recently found myself challenged by people I share an important goal with...but disagree on some of the ways people work to achieve that goal. I started a status update on Facebook but I quickly realized I needed a bigger venue that would, hopefully, facilitate a broader discussion.

I have several "soapbox" issues (you can check out the tab above this post). I feel very strongly about them and I actively work to support & promote these issues in my personal and public life (occasionally, even in official jobs).

I can get pretty fired up about stuff very quickly. I do my best to remain respectful & calm (or at least appear that way).

Sometimes, I fail miserably.

But I really do try to put myself in other people's shoes. I don't believe people make different decisions than I do because they wish to harm others. I disagree with some of my closest friends & many family members on issues of parenting, politics, & even pets. Outside of intentional, malicious acts, I generally don't let this affect my personal relationships with them...even though I really do enjoy a good, heated debate.

This has caused some people to believe I'm not as serious or as committed to my "soapbox" causes as others within these movements.

They're wrong, for the record.

Which now brings me to what would have been my longest Facebook status update ever:

What methods work best to convince you to change your mind/opinion about a topic, or at least look more deeply into other choices?

Do respectful discussions work best, where both (or more) sides are shared? Would you rather just read informative literature about the topic on your own time? Do you take the intiative to find opposing viewpoints on your own?

What about personal stories from people similar to yourself who once agreed with you but later changed their minds?

What about belittling or name-calling? How do you react if you are called names (like a child abuser or unfit parent) by people who disagree with you?

How do you respond if/when the person you disagree with is the one being belittled or attacked? Would that chalenge you to look more deeply at their side of the issue?

I's a lot to think about. Don't feel like you have to answer it all at once.

There are no wrong answers. ;-)

Here are Klaw's newest shoes...and I can't put myself in them to save my life.

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