Can’t We All Just Get Along? by Lois Hewitt


I’m the very first person to admit this…I’m not always easy to get along with.  I am a stickler for structure and order.  What I perceive to be chaos, which can be normal for someone else, overwhelms me.  I like to do things a certain way. That’s not to say that I can’t change, it’s just a slower process for me.  I do not try to be difficult….it just happens.

I try to be, and want to be, all chill and easygoing.  I have had a reputation in the past for being a little intense at times.  I have been known to get really mad here and there. If I get pushed, I tend to push back.  I feel strongly about some things and won’t budge on them.  None of these qualities are any that I’m necessarily proud of.  

I look around my little piece of the planet and I think of the strife I create.  I really don’t mean to do it.   It is no wonder on a global scale that we can’t all get along.  No one wants to be wrong.  Opinions are as different and varied as the stars in the night sky.  It is so easy to think that yours is the right one.  Admitting yours may be flawed is a very hard thing to do.

I have started burying my head in the sand when it comes to some of the global issues we are all facing in this day and age.  The fact that there is so much hate in the world because of differences in opinions causes me much anxiety. The fact that we as human beings can hate entire groups of people, and have them hate us back, because of skin color, religious beliefs or any other myriad of differences cuts me to the core.  I hate the diversions, yet I’m not always flexible either.

So how do we start to get along?  I’ve always believed that it really starts at home, then it can radiate outward more globally.  But it’s not always easy to understand another human even those closest to us.  Each of us have our own unique experiences that set us up to think a certain way.  We all carry scars, visible and invisible, on our bodies and in our souls from hurts and injustices aimed at us.  These things veil our thought to a certain mindset, one that is often difficult to overcome.

I am in constant study of how to become a better person. I want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Yet I cannot always see the other side because I’m so busy looking at my side. The climate of hate today seems to create an atmosphere where we all, myself included, feel the absolute need to defend ourselves.  I find myself trying to explain my actions and the reasons for them.  We all get defensive rather quickly because it is easy to feel like you are getting attacked.

I figured out, for myself, that when I feel I am being attacked and I get so defensive that I cannot see anything else except my side.  My ability to, at least, consider the other side completely flies out the window.  I cannot possibly see your side when I have to guard myself from your attack.  Any hope for resolution is lost.  

How do I become less defensive?  I honestly do not know the answer to that question.  I’m like a wild animal at times, I will “bite”first, then think about the situation.  I think many of us are like that.  We just want to protect our little corner of the world.  But sometimes that closes our eyes to the other side of the story.  

Maybe if I stop perceiving an attack where there isn’t one, I may be able to bypass the defensive mode and actually have a real dialogue rather than a heated discussion of my intentions versus yours.  Maybe if I don’t automatically feel backed into a corner, I may have room to see the other side. Jesus spoke to many different kinds of people during His time on the Earth.  He listened, didn’t necessarily change His opinion, but heard the other person out.  He talked to them with compassion and understanding. He knew His moral compass.  Even when He was being attacked, He pleaded for mercy on those people.  

I cannot seem to be like that but I certainly can strive for it.  I will never be that understanding but I can try harder.  No more defensive behavior for me. I want my eyes open to see the other side. I may or may not change my opinion but I’m going to trust my moral compass more than my emotional compass and see if that doesn’t change things, even a little bit, for the better.  

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