How much time do you spend trying to convince your children, parents, and friends that your opinion is the one they should believe?  Just read any social media thread and you will see that this dominates our communication style, and it’s certainly the basis of many family arguments.

The problem with this type of interaction is that it is missing a dose of empathy.

Here’s where most of us get confused: Allowing someone to have their opinion does not mean that we are accepting it to be true.  Only that it is true for them in that moment.

Take the example of a child who doesn’t like school. The natural instinct is to convince them they are wrong about this instead of allowing them to have this feeling. This doesn’t mean we can’t work towards a better school experience for them, but allowing them to have these feelings makes them feel heard and helps them develop emotional awareness and empathy.

This month, instead of jumping and sharing your opinion, ask questions about the other person’s experience.  It’s fascinating to learn how people’s thoughts and feelings develop and good questions often lead that person to more insight than sharing our personal opinions would.

Featured image by Elijah Henderson on Unsplash.