Today I'm linking up with the Five Minute Friday community, writing for five minutes on a given prompt. This week's word is AGREE.
This week I disagreed with someone on Facebook. That is, I didn't just have a different opinion, but I stated it. The person who had put up the post expressing their opinion was someone I like and respect, and the post (which was about something important, not just something trivial like whether smooth or crunchy peanut butter is better) received many replies of affirmation from other people I like and respect.
But I had a different view of the issue, so I went against the tide and expressed that view. (I was the glass of Coke in the image above, coming up against all the lattes!)
Afterward I talked with a friend who is not involved in the situation, just about how challenging it can be to disagree publicly and do it in an appropriate way. She said in similar situations she asks herself questions like
"What is my motivation in speaking up? Do I want to change others' minds?"
"Am I ready to do more than just say 'I disagree' and drop it -- do I want to get into this discussion at more length?"
"Do I need to have the last word, or can I let it go?"
I thought these were wise questions. In the particular instance I'm referring to, I had additional thoughts that shaped my decision to speak: "Maybe someone else is reading this right now and holds a contrary view, but they're afraid to speak out. Maybe I can make that person
feel encouraged or less alone. And really -- what do I have to lose?"
I don't find it easy to express disagreement with others, especially publicly. I dislike conflict, and I don't want to be disapproved of. But sometimes we need to have the courage to speak out our disagreement. We shouldn't demean or dehumanize others in the process, and we should constantly examine our own motives -- but we should remember that we are free to speak up honestly on things that matter to us, and give others the same freedom.