You can’t ever get it completely right. And that’s not just because of being overly critical of your own work. To write well, I believe one must open up and put a little bit of ones heart and soul into it. And by doing so, you become vulnerable. If you put yourself out there, you will be attacked. It might not happen immediately, but sooner or later someone will disagree. They might disagree with what you wrote. Or worse, because it gets personal: with who you are.
There is no such thing as risk-free writing. No matter if you write a few words on Social Media or blog after blog. If you get published or only a few people read what you had to say. Now, if it ended with people simply disagreeing, that’s one thing. Often the attacks become very much personal though. People are being targeted, harassed and sometimes even made to regret ever speaking up.
The safe alternative might seem to stay silent. But if we all swallowed our thoughts, if we never spoke up, never put pen to paper, we’d all be poorer for it. We need people to feel safe enough to be able to voice their opinion, even if we don’t all agree. I’d even go so far as to say: disagreeing is healthy! We are not drones. We all come with our own stories, lives full of experiences, that shaped us. And if instead of attacking straight away, we held our breath for a moment and listened, we might learn.
Does that mean we will all agree in the end? Far from it! But maybe we could agree to not agree on every detail. And to not make it personal. To not attack and rip someone apart just for disagreeing. Sometimes there is not the one right or wrong. Even if we feel strongly about something. The other person might feel as strongly about their opinion, for different reasons. And their reasons might be as valid as our own.
Listen. Discuss. Debate. Disagree. Encourage openness and honesty. And accept that there is more than one opinion. And sometimes, opinions can change even.
It’s not an easy thing to do. Especially for those of us who are passionate. We have strong opinions. We know what we want. What feels wrong or right. We might even feel betrayal when an opposing opinion comes from someone who we deemed to be on our side. Especially then it is important to listen instead of shout though. Learn about the why. Don’t challenge it by attacking them. Truly be open and try not to judge. As hard as that feels.
When we listen, we can learn. Not least, we can learn more about ourselves. Why is our opinion so strong, that someones disagreement alone feels like an attack? Why do we feel the appropriate action is to lash out? And how much more could we gain, if we worked together instead of fighting each other?
With some topics, this might seem easier than with others. Admittedly, sometimes people are so passionate, they don’t want to stop and allow for other thoughts. If we do have a common goal however, it might be worth it. We won’t ever get there, if we only listen to the people we all agree with. To truly achieve something, we need to be able to listen to all the voices.
Especially the ones we disagree with. Things are rarely black and white only. Look for the greys, for they matter. While the blacks and the whites try to fight and be the sole winners, the greys are the common ground. And common ground is worth listening to, no matter which side you started from.
You might want everyone to become your black or to become your white. But if they started on the opposite side to you, the middle in which to meet in, will always be grey, If it takes the grey to achieve what we truly want, doesn’t it look so much more tempting and colourful all of a sudden? The grey opens the doors to all of our dreams. It enables the rainbows of our future. But to get there, we have to learn to compromise. And to disagree occasionally.
My future, that I seek, is within an independent Scotland, a just Nation that can strive. It will take all of us with that goal to work together to achieve it. Our dreams are not all the same. Our motivations and paths that brought us here and the details of that future, of that dream vary.
But that one goal, is a goal that we share. We can work out the details still, for they are for another day to decide yet. We can get the paint brushes out later and redecorate as much as we’ll like. For now though, let’s all make it happen first.
Not as enemies, but together. For it is our dream, even if we sometimes disagree on the colour scheme.