Communicating Across Differences


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Since I was little, I watched my parents argue due to their clash of cultures. I'm proud of being raised in a multicultural family, but need to be honest that it was hard.

I grew up angry and looking for conflict. Could it be that conflict fascinated me? I was stubborn and defensive, as most people are to some extent, especially in youth. But recently something clicked.

In order to have more productive conversations, it's good to strive to be free of anger and free of judgment.

Essentially, anger occurs when you have an expectation or need that is not being met. Josh said he was going to do the dishes tonight, I come home and he's playing video games instead, so I get angry — my expectation that he was going to do the dishes was not met. Someone that you're talking to has a different opinion than you about something. You expect them to have the same viewpoint as you because in your view it's obviously correct, so you get angry. If we temper our expectations, we can reduce the anger we feel and keep a clear head for a productive conversations. We can tell ourselves not to expect certain things from other people. We can start by not expecting everyone to be the same as us.

There's evidence too that fear promotes anger. To be honest I'm not sure what that would look like, but it was an interesting hypothesis that came up in my reading. Maybe it's like, you fear ????

It's not only about communicating across differences, it's about learning from our differences. Our life experiences shaped who we are, so let's share those stories, share that data.

if you know you grow

© if you know you grow 2023.