Trust and truth are two words that are integral and we seek the truth and sources we can trust. Saying that, if we were to look at the word truth, one of the definitions state: ‘a fact or belief that is accepted as true’. So if we are to take that definition, it means that our belief is true based on what we accept as true. With that, we hold a position because it aligns with us. The suggestion then is that in our world, everything we know and are surrounded by is truth and everything else are untrue. We use the words truth and half-truths but half-truths means half-lies?
We see this in present state with politics, the pandemic and any other conspiracies that emerge. People are polarized and divided on issues because of what they believe to be true. It does not matter how reliable the source is, or unreliable and untested the source is, we embrace it because it lines up with our belief system. Have you ever tried to convince someone of what you believe to be true and they totally reject it no matter how hard you try or what sources you provide?
So where is the truth, the real truth? I find it lies somewhere in the middle of everything we see in society. It’s as if an issue is there, such as COVID-19, everyone can find facts, details and information on how it is a hoax and we need to get over it, or that it is very serious and if we are not responsible then many will die. It is like looking outside on a clear and sunny day and someone next to you says, when will it stop raining. You know it is not raining but to them it is raining. Maybe there is a need to try and consider the other opinion and understand where they are coming from. We all have perspectives and where do our perspectives come from? It comes from family, friends, culture, religion, social media, mainstream media and society. So if we have a perspective, it is rooted within us and we hold on to it blindly as truth.
So how do we uncover the truth?
• Put your biases aside – We come pre-programmed into a conversation and anything that is counter to our perspective is going to be immediately rejected and we spend time looking to respond as opposed to listening
• Be open minded – Related to putting biases aside, try to be open minded to understand the other person’s perspective. Where are they coming from and how did they come to that thought.
• Don’t rush to conclusions – Just because someone may not agree with you, it does not mean they are wrong. We immediately make decisions and assessments without really considering facts and information.
• Stop, listen and don’t judge – This is a difficult one because our mind wants to always respond back and we don’t really listen to what is being said. We immediately want to say why your position is right and someone is not.
• Don’t make bold and abrupt statements that you find to be true – We cherry pick information that aligns to our position and put them forward and when you don’t fact check it or just put something out there, you leave yourself open to be challenged.
• Know when it is time to stop – There should be a point where if the discussion is getting to a point where it is going to impact a relationship, it might be time to mutually step back. Not give up and feel like you have lost but rather a statement that it is OK to disagree. Stop the dialogue before it goes over the cliff.
• Don’t be offensive – let conversation prevail. Be respectful of someone and try to keep discussion and dialogue on a civil level. There is a huge need to respect someone’s position. You don’t have to agree with them but name calling or taking it to a relational conflict will solve nothing. You can be passionate about something but it means that the harder you push your position, the deeper someone is going to dig in against your position because they feel threatened that you are negatively questioning their credibility.
The world we live in needs compassion, care and collaboration. We have always needed this but at the present time, it is even more important. The only way this can happen is to be respectful with each other. We can then build the trust and move forward. It is so important these days that we go back to listening and speaking over shouting and finger pointing. The truth is out there somewhere and we can find it…but only if we seek it out together.
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