Understanding Agreement And Respect Are Not The Same

Understanding Agreement And Respect Are Not The Same

Two men express Understanding Agreement And Respect
Photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash

Understanding agreement and respect begins by realizing they are not the same. Here are three ideas to help you disagree and still respect other people.

Understanding Agreement And Respect Involves Managing Your Different Expectations

My wife Judy and I grew up in wildly divergent homes. I learned to eat pancakes with butter and syrup. She ate them with butter alone. We brought these expectations to our marriage and attempted to influence our children accordingly. Despite our fundamental culinary disagreement, we maintained respect for one another. (OK, at times I may have mocked her nearly naked cakes.)

So there’s a distinction between agreement and respect we all need to recognize and experience.

Understanding Agreement And Respect Relates To The Difference Between Sympathy And Empathy

Understanding agreement and respect relates to the distinction between sympathy and empathy.

When I sympathize with you, there is an implied sense of agreement with your cause or position. In empathy however, I feel with you as a fellow human, but may not agree with your stance.

I sympathize with those who prefer Hawaii to Florida. Although I am not a fan of beaches, somehow the beaches of Hawaii are ones even I enjoy. I empathize with someone whose cat has died. And understand the loss of a pet, since I had a pet dog die.

But I’ve never owned a cat and, if asked, would say I don’t like them. (Please don’t get hung up on that last comment and miss the larger point.)

Understanding Agreement And Respect Means You Can Disagree Agreeably

We need to disagree agreeably. This is essential to peace within families and communities. I should respect you and treat you respectfully even when I don’t agree with your position.

If you insist on agreement and sympathy, then the resulting alienation of others shouldn’t surprise you. Let’s model finding value in all people since none of us agrees with everyone.

About Julian Consulting

Dr. Stephen Julian is President of Julian Consulting, a firm specializing in team health, effective communication, and leadership development. He has worked with leaders and their teams for nearly 30 years in a variety of settings – including Africa, South and Central America.


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