A Deep Respect For Someone You Disagree With…..Not Easy Right?

It’s tricky isn’t it? A deep respect, notice I didn’t say like, or have a desire to hang out with them as mates. 

The kind of respect that acknowledges that person as some one who has thought through their position, and expresses it with an intelligent grasp of the issues. 

They probably keep away from the ‘personal attack’ style of rhetoric, they don’t ‘preach’ or set up ‘straw man’ arguments.

As I thought about who the people are that I disagree with, almost completely, yet deeply respect, I struggled to think of many people who fell into that category. 

Why is that? 

Maybe there just isn’t many of them, maybe my opinions are just so elevated and intellectually superior that those of others can’t compare with them?

That can’t be it can it? Just ask my girl friend, or children and they will put right on that front! 

So why is it? 

My guess is that I have elevated my ‘opinion’ to the status of ‘Fact’ and in the process created a ‘moral value’.

Those ‘Moral values’ go on to act as unconscious ‘filters’, filtering for the way I perceive those I disagree with. 

I do not see others as they are, but as I am. 

What can I do about it? 

While this process is going on outside of your awareness you will be the ‘victim’ of it, the unwitting ‘puppet’ led into conflict with others, with little knowledge of why you dislike them so much.

From this mind/body state being able to listen to another until we truly understand is near impossible. 

My practice has been to notice the intensity of my dislike of the one who’s opinion is different to mine, this noticing seems to create the space I need to catch a glimpse of my own ‘moral judgement’ led blindness. 

So who is it you respect but disagree with? 

For me Peter Hitchens comes to mind☺️


2 thoughts on “A Deep Respect For Someone You Disagree With…..Not Easy Right?

  1. At the moment I am reading Buber, and he talks about having an I-it or an I-thou relationship. Basically, the first is where you objectify a person, place, thing by giving it an ultimate definition. So, you say that person is defined by that opinion, which I disagree with, and therefore I am in opposition to them as a whole. The second is where you appreciate the fluid qualities of a person, place, or thing. What is salient about them right now, you might observe their motion, their dimensions, their biology, their expression, but you see it as a transitory form which is always changing, and has many facets. So, you say that person is expressing something which I disagree with, but that is not definitive, and there are any number of ways I might appreciate their presence. In a certain frame of mind, people can choose to see this possibility of I-thou, not I-it.

    Personally, working with pregnant women and mums I find that it is essential not to define people by an expressed opinion or preference, as that is exactly what the whole ‘mommy wars’ thing does (and why not parent wars? Oh yes because women are objectified as irrational tigresses). Easier said than done, at times, as you say!

    Where I struggle most is politics- show me Osborne, Cameron, Trump etc…aaaaargh.

    So, someone I have deep respect for, but find myself in disagreement with, would be a whole bunch of folk, including my husband sometimes, my mil sometimes, my sil often, clients…. But the disagreement does not define the person snd therefore not the relationship, so it is no big deal. It is just a given part of forming opinions, which everyone does in a different way at differing moments.

    Yep. Yep. But show me someone I do not feel any connection with and a political difference… Ooh that is tricky

  2. This reminded me of Edward de Bono’s comment:

    Usually in an argument, I can see the other person’s point of view. It comes down to three basic things: different information, different perception and different values. Once you can see where people come from you can consider if the other person has better information and compare their values and perceptions to yours. I am willing to listen.


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