Here is a famous quote by Thich Nhat Hahn. An alumnus of my course, Creativity and Personal Mastery, who is serious about personal growth, posted it on our electronic bulletin board.
“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.”
This is profound.
I cannot calculate how many hours I have spent trying to change people’s minds using logic and facts. And how much more time establishing that the facts I marshaled were indeed facts.
Thich Nhat Hahn is correct. It does not work.
So how do you understand and show that you understand?
It is simple but not easy.
The first part is to articulate the other person’s view in your own words so that they agree that what you say is their position.
Read this excellent article Barriers and Gateways to Communication by Carl Rogers and Carl Rogers and F J Roethlisberger for more details.
And the second part is to let go of your desire to have the situation resolve itself in the manner you would like it to. Beam out peace and goodwill and let the Universe do the rest of the work.
Accept whatever transpires. Nay, embrace it.
As I said, simple. Not easy.