Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Becoming a Chameleon: Finding the Limit

Here was the task that I ended with in my last post:
Look for opportunities to discuss topics which may have differing points of view. Resist expressing your point of view immediately. Instead, ask more questions to understand what others are thinking. Try to focus on the underlying reasoning and supporting evidence for other points of view. Resist the temptation to try to convince others to change to your point of view.
As you might have imagined, this wasn't that hard at all. If there's anything I've noticed about this generation of people who have information at their fingertips at all times, finding someone with an opinion and a point of view on something is like looking for a grain of sugar in a candy factory. We're surrounded by other people's points of view, and we're also pushed all the time to consider them.

Something I learned today is that, even though you might go out of your way to understand someone's point of view, that doesn't mean that person is necessarily going to be grateful to you for understanding it. In fact, sometimes that opens the floodgates for them to dive headlong into any fear that is associated with that point of view, and that can result in them taking that fear out on you.

It's a risk I wasn't aware I was taking.

I'm a sensitive person. I always have been. I think that I tend to empathize more easily with people than many of the friends I've had in my life. And recently, that seems to be a really negative trait to have, because it also means I get hurt easily by people's comments, however harmless they perceive them to be.

So, what does this mean? Am I doomed forever to be bracing myself against people's reactions? I might understand their point of view, but will they understand mine? When have I adapted enough? When will it be someone else's turn to adapt to me?

Maybe that's the point of this whole challenge: to figure out how far I can stretch myself, how much I can get used to, and where exactly to draw the line. I can't put my hands over my ears and drown out the opinions surrounding me. I think I can only continue to try to understand... without getting trampled in the process.

Maybe I better get myself a helmet. It's gonna be a rough ride, I think...

No comments:

Post a Comment