With the 2020 election top-of-mind this year, I wanted to briefly discuss differentiation and the human need to connect and be understood. The definition of differentiate is to recognize or ascertain what makes (someone or something) different. Andrew Baumann said it another way in his article, “The Differentiated Self: Creating Healthy Relationship.” He said, “Basically, differentiation means a healthy separation of one’s self.”
It seems that listening to what the other side feels like is a lost art. I remember as a child listening to people from both sides of the political aisle without losing themselves. Those days are long gone for many. What’s more, we are more divided than ever. At the same time, many of us feel like we have a need to hold our ground, be heard, or just be right.
What if we changed those needs to connect and to understand instead? We don’t have to agree. But what if we, at a minimum, asked to be heard and be OK with the difference. We could even take this attitude and apply it to work and many other areas of our lives, not just politics.
Listening and hearing others is one of the top traits a leader, parent, or person can possess.
So, I leave you with this fundamental question; do you wish to be right, or do you want to connect? Think about this the next time you engage in a heated discussion.
Take a step back because we can’t always be right and wish to connect simultaneously. See what happens.