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How to Love Others When You Don't Agree

By Kristen Duke

Of the millions of people in this world, no two are alike, so of course the way we think, and our opinions could never 100% line up either. Not with our spouse, our best friend, not even our kids. 

Some things are no big deal when you disagree. For example, I don’t like onions. Though I’ve heard many times in my life, “I’m so sad for you that you don’t like onions, they are so delicious” it doesn’t phase me one bit because, guess what? I don’t like onions! They can love them all they want, tell me all about how much they love them, but it’s not going to change my mind. We can agree to disagree without any hard feelings.

However, when it comes to how we think people should behave, all emotions are involved, and it can get heated. This past year, there has been a lot of that in my personal life, and likely in yours as well. Whether in person or on social media, when it comes to matters of the heart, to PEOPLE, many get defensive when our integrity is in question, especially when we feel we are right. 

When we think of loving someone, even when we disagree, it would do us well to remember the oft quoted phrase, “Love means being selfless and thinking about the needs of others before we think of our own.”

Each person on this earth comes from different backgrounds, paradigms with which the world is seen. It feels even more frustrating when someone we THINK sees things similarly, realizing they don’t. It feels personal, sometimes feels attacking. But it doesn’t have to be. We can shift our paradigm, and seek to understand before being understood. Of course we hope that after we listen to them with patience and kindness that they will offer the same, but that often doesn’t happen and we have to go into the situation with that in mind.  Ask Questions. Listen. 

One can empathize with the feeling of another, seek to understand them, without agreeing. The Savior was empathic to the needs of others who saw the world differently than He did.

Seek to evolve your perspective by understanding others. Strive to live as 1 Corinthians 13 states,  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

May we all seek for opportunities for growth. I love this quote from Frank. A. Clark, We find comfort among those who agree with us—growth among those who don’t.”

The most important work of our lives is learning how to love others well. Life is about people, about relationships, and if we can keep that in mind, to truly love, to understand the WHY behind each disagreement, we can feel that peace that we so desperately seek daily.

Kristen Duke grew up in Texas and Louisiana, and now raising her family in the mountains of Colorado. As a former early morning seminary teacher, she loves teenagers, and is striving to help parents feel more hopeful in raising teens on her instagram @KristenDukeChats. With two sons on/preparing for missions and two girls at home, she’s loving mothering the BIG KIDS.

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