DO YOU AGREE?
//“Don’t you agree?”… Those words used to stop me in may tracks in certain relationships, because I knew if I said what I really thought, there might not be a relationship left. Too often my answer was “No”, but I couldn’t muster up the courage to say it. And so began a long term career as a people pleaser.
It was a career that made three words which are completely different, one and the same.
As I look back over my life and my relationships I can see how again and again, due to personal insecurity on my part, I would feel pressured into making understanding and agreeing the same thing, because I was scared that is I disagreed then I would’t be accepted by… whoever. The girls at school or the older women at church, my family, leaders… I’m sure you can think of your relational weak spot.
I would like to let you into one of the most powerful sentences that have ever come out of my mouth. I believe that for the times we live in, where Political Correctness has society in a choke hold, that this empowering string of words that could quite literally change our lives if we would allow it.
The sentence is this:
"I understand what you are saying, but I do not agree with you."
The opposite premise being that if I truly understand you, I will agree with you and therefore this means I accept you. And I want to say, that could not be further from the truth.
It was actually this sentence that mad made me a friend for life at university, we actually bonded over our passionate disagreement! There have been others who helped me along the way - university professors, church leaders. However, it has been in my marriage that I have experienced a kind of communication that has been liberating to me. Perhaps because I know my husband loves me and we are on the same team it has been easier. That being said, because he is not insecure he can handle me completely understanding what he is saying and yet hotly disagreeing with him.
I want to propose that the purpose of communication is not agreement, but understanding.
The purpose of communication should be to make common our thoughts, feelings and emotions and to stay connected; not necessarily to agree. This kind of communication allows my acceptance of you to not be determined by whether I agree with you or not; and my disagreeing not being due to a lack of understanding, but just a difference of opinion.
I do understand that there is power in agreement, because when we agree, it gives a sense of authority to what we have agreed up on.// But, if we make these three terms the same, we are in danger of creating a world more divided than ever before.
I want to encourage you to be someone who doesn’t even interview for a job in People Pleasing. It is underpaid and has no long term prospects!
Don’t give into the fear of not being accepted, or become a person who only surrounds themselves with those who agree with you on everything. If you do you will end up relationally poor and worse, you run the risk of being the definition of narrow minded. Disagreement is not the same as disunity. Being able to say what I do not agree with has been empowering to me in finding out who I am and what I stand for and more importantly why!
I believe that in today’s world we must seek to find a more mature destination for our communication. This being the destination of understanding and not agreement.
I would love to know what you have to say on all of this, even you don’t agree!
Thanks for stopping by, K xx