drawing the line, part 2

Yesterday, I asked, in the midst of conflict with others where do I draw the line between offering  my compassion that recognizes and respects their right to their views and challenging their positions, indeed, confronting them?

On reflection, I can make a case that these two approaches are not mutually exclusive. I can do both. When in conflict with others, I can be compassionate in understanding their life’s circumstances and appreciating how they arrived at and adhere to their beliefs and challenge their views.

However, to do the latter always, I think, infers a degree of judgment. When I contest another’s opinion or point of view, whether or not using the words “right” or “wrong”, I am (and, as important, I may be perceived to be) implying that I consider that person’s position flawed in some way – deficient in knowledge, faulty in logic and reasoning (indeed, irrational[1]), narrow in scope, short in vision, even “missing the mark” (which, derived from the Greek ‘amartia, means sinful).

Such a circumstance can make continuing in civil conversation, perhaps continuing in relationship difficult.

So, now what?



[1] In using the word “irrational”, I hasten to add that I consider some circumstances and occasions when being irrational (or operating beyond the realm or aside from the field of reason) to be sensible (my irony intended). When I listen to a piece of music (say, Gustav Holst’s The Planets, especially the 4th movement, Jupiter: The Bringer of Jollity, which always reminds me of my beloved brother Wayne) that touches the heart of my soul and I am moved to tears, my response is beyond the grasp of my reason. If one were to see me crying and ask, “Paul, why the tears, for what you are hearing is but a series of musical notes arranged in an orderly mathematically discernible sequence”, I would understand that to be a reasonable view, but one without the depth of an impossible to articulate irrational comprehension.

4 thoughts on “drawing the line, part 2

  1. Oh Geez!!! I don’t know what now Paul! It’s incredibly difficult! I burst out laughing when I read this at my desk, because YES clearly the other person’s point of view MUST be flawed if they don’t agree with us right????? When faced with this, I do what I call the “review”… You know like what referees do in sports, they review plays that are “too close to call” and then review to see which side was actually should win when the review is over. When I “review” quickly in my head what the conversation I’m having actually was, I replay it and try to eliminate the judgement and just hear the words… I also erase any sarcasm or inappropriate times I was going to add to my response. So when I’m in conflict I try to blow the official’s whistle in my head and “flag” myself for a penalty and then do the “play” (conversation) over. I’m happy to say it works most of the times but there are times I ignore the referee’s whistle and keep talking. That of course would get me thrown out of the game if I was a real sports player. You know how much I love sports so the analogy of calling a penalty on myself really has helped me with conflict! Thanks for part two my dear friend!!! Is there a part 3?


    • 😆 Loretta, I love your sports analogy involving referees, time-outs, play reviews, and whistles! Brilliant. It’s the sort of image that translates easily to and for all. Thank you. The first 3 times I repeat it, I’ll give you attribution. After that, it’s mine! 😄 As for a part 3, yep!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m just flattered that you want to use anything of mine!!!! And you’re right, anyone can relate because there are referees in any sport. A whistle makes sense to me, because it usually stops us in our tracks before something really bad happens. I believe in some conversations / debates going on in today’s world, referees / mediators could certainly work wonders!! Can’t wait for part 3!! You Rock!


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