Staying in a difficult conversation . . .

5 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

We’ve just passed the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting in Aurora Colorado, and I want to reflect on something good that came from a conversation when it was fresh news. I met a young veteran of one of our recent wars in the Middle East on Facebook. (I’ll call him Paul.)

He didn’t like my comment on a friend’s post.   I’d said that my compassion extended to the shooter as well as the victims and their families, because we never know what kind of pain a person must be in that would cause them to do such a thing. 

Paul fired back with phrases like: “You must think (insert misinterpretation of what I said here)”; and “I bet you’re one of those (insert description with words like stupid, spoiled, ignorant, etc. here)”.  I replied thoughtfully and learned a little more about him each time he offered another misinterpretation of what I’d said.  His responses got a little less hateful each time.

Our exchange ended once I’d shared about my life experience and clarified what I really meant without making him wrong.  I think it was when he was clear that I understood him, and when he understood that my compassion extended to him, and to all soldiers, and everyone who has suffered, that he stopped accusing and reacting.  I can’t say that I know I made a difference in his life or changed the way he sees the world, but I trust that some seed was planted.  That’s what I’m here to do – to trust and to plant seeds of compassion without attachment to whether they sprout and grow. 

The thing I want to share here is the value of staying in a conversation until there is some version of peace and understanding - even if it can only be one-sided for the time being.  When we can stay in an unpleasant conversation and stay present, and be our best, loving self, something can soften and open.  A seed may be planted that will grow into beauty, harmony, and peace.  And this world can really use more of that.

More from living

Living
by Fairygodboss | 4 days ago
Living
by Jessica Watson | 10 days ago
Living
by Kristine Cannon | 13 days ago
Living
by Aly Walansky | 14 days ago
Living
by Colleen Stinchcombe | 18 days ago
Living
by Fairygodboss | 18 days ago
Living
by Colleen Stinchcombe | 20 days ago
Living
by Kenzie G. Mastroe | a month ago
Living
by Julie Sprankles | a month ago
Living
by Colleen Stinchcombe | a month ago
Living
by Ashley Papa | a month ago
Living
by Colleen Stinchcombe | a month ago
Living
by Kenzie G. Mastroe | a month ago
Living
by Kristine Cannon | a month ago