Choose Kindness in Disagreement

Large tell the story
sign in to favorite this post

There was a moment on my journey when I felt and thought and chose very differently than those around me. Those feelings and thoughts and choices were far outside of the earlier pages of my journey and that moment became a very dark place through which I traveled almost wholly unaccompanied. As dawn broke through that moment and I was able to exhale, I clung to what I learned in the dark place. Those lessons have shaped the way I now treat others with kindness in the midst of disagreements.

First, breathe. Words have a powerful and long-lasting way of connecting and separating us from others. I began to know almost instantly the type of response I would receive based on the first moment after I shared my struggle with someone along my journey. When I first heard a deep breath, I knew what came next would be kindness in action. That pause of breath gave way to a beautiful moment; one in which loneliness was crushed and walls of separation were demolished. What broke way after that breath was not a changing of opinions, but a knowledge that I wouldn’t be quite so alone in the very next moment of my journey. We are each a uniquely different piece of the world’s puzzle and an intricate piece of the whole. The goal is not to all become an identical puzzle piece, but rather to breathe in the beauty of each unique piece that surrounds us.

Different shoes. I’ve never walked a mile in your shoes,” she whispered. That precious whisper was uttered by a saintly woman whose belief system should have meant she would shun me completely. I expected anything but compassion as I shared my dark moment with her; instead, her words became a balm to my weary soul. She passed no judgment and shared no advice. She simply allowed me to think and feel and choose as I would, respecting my journey as far different than her own. Remember always that not one of us walks the same path; if you were able to walk in another pair of shoes for even a mile, your outlook may be different.

Love, anyway. The heart of the disagreement isn’t everything. Although I found myself in a dark place of deep struggle, I yearned for a connection with another person on anything but the obvious topic at hand. I became so hungry for connection that I found myself in conversation with random strangers about a new restaurant, the changing of the seasons, and even the local football team. If the topic at hand proves too much to tackle, connect on another instead. That one subject is not the basis on which one should be wholly judged; find the beauty of connection through another topic instead.

In this moment, I find myself confronted with many whose opinions are far different than mine. Their feelings and thoughts and choices are so greatly opposed to mine and it becomes easy to feel alone in a dark place all over again. But this is simply a false view of the world around me. Instead, I must hold on to the truths I have learned.

It takes many unique and beautiful pieces of a puzzle to complete the whole of the world that encompasses us. Your piece of the puzzle is different from mine, but both are necessary to the whole.

Your shoes have seen a far different journey through the years than the pair next to yours; choose to respect the shoes of others.

And, when all else fails, switch topics. Connect on a different level.

Choose kindness in disagreement.

Megan Ann Murphy

Post & Artwork by Megan Ann Murphy

Megan is a mentor and advocate for military veterans and caregivers struggling with life after combat injury. She writes often about her family’s personal experiences after combat, parenting special needs children, and finding the good in the ever-present chaos. Her goal through mentoring, advocating, and writing is simply to let others know they are not alone on their journey.

Other posts you might like to read:

Thumb matt kurtz 3

Nominate Someone Who Inspires You for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award

Help us to honor people who make kindness a way of life. It’s time we recognize people for the good they do through their every day small acts of kindness. People who...

Read More
Thumb knox rocks

Knox Rocks! Spreading Kindness and Love with a Rock Garden

I teach special education in an inclusive setting at a Head Start center in San Antonio Independent School District. A few years ago I saw an idea for a painted rock garden...

Read More
Thumb seven tips

7 Kindness Tips for Caregivers of Dementia Patients

For the countless numbers of people who are caring for dementia patients you may be experiencing something called “compassion fatigue”. Below are a few tips to make your role a little easier...

Read More
Thumb mobile phone kindness

Showing Kindness? There's an App For That!

Mobile phones and the Internet are at our fingertips these days, allowing us to easily engage with loved ones and giving us a way to spread kindness to those beyond our friend...

Read More
See All Kind Blog Posts