In following my previous post on how to create empathy and understanding through deep canvassing as a force for change, there is another step that goes beyond meaningful conversations across difference. This step turns inward rather than outward, and opens oneself up to the idea that your particular stances and beliefs might not hold the full truth of a matter. It’s not an easy step to take, as it requires humility, often in the face of a significant wrong.
Julia Dhar, partner, Boston Consultant Group, and leader of BeSmart, BCG’s human behavioral economics and insights initiative, engages this very topic. She suggests that people looking to open themselves up to new perspectives should ask themselves two questions:
1). What is it that you have changed your mind about, and why?
2). What uncertainty are you humble about?
These are again, not easy questions. But doing so – making oneself conscious (and admitting it) of the changes that you have made over the years – creates a healthy level of doubt that just maybe you might not have the answer on everything. Moreover, admitting an uncertainty creates space to listen to others and find wisdom outside of the worldview to which you subscribe.
At MovementForward, Inc., we consider ourselves bridge builders, but we are not agonistic about creating meaningful change. We believe that the United States has a distance to go in becoming more just, more fair, more equitable, more safe. And we believe that the solution requires confronting injustice, racism and other forms of bias, and holding up voices that have not been heard. But, we are solutions-oriented, and believe that it is not enough to simply yell one’s opinion at another. You must be willing to truly listen, and come toward those who disagree. In this way, you can turn seeming opponents into fellow collaborators in building the beloved community.
We hope you’ll join us in this work.