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I've attempted to discover a quick way to deal with confrontational scenarios by interpolating empathy with courteous demeanour. While it didn’t interrupt confrontations, nor made them avoidable, it seems that begging to disagree can work, so long as you’ve have first learnt to mirror what is being talked in a different point of view.

I like to call those exercises tools for mutual understanding. It took me a while to understand that it is natural for some people to showcase colourful disagreement only to capture a topic by exhaustion.

Funnily enough, no words can interpret with precision what a subject matter can bring to a vulnerable person. I say vulnerable not to explicate people who eventually become vulnerable, oh no. We are all vulnerable to small stressors, too many of them, too many times. Triggers, say, of how much sentiment you will drill in a matter of seconds. More than that, it is a delusion to ignore them.

That’s righteous okay, I need to add. Subjectivity is always at stake, mind you, because we all have a background which doesn’t always make sense to let it go, since it is part of what makes you, you. That is why I am inclined to believe that empathy can indeed mirror a bit of that shadowiness, a dim sum of a silhouette only the individual possesses full picture.

Then there is a matter of time. Are we genuinely interested in grasping their experience, or are we otherwise just pretending to listen to people when we talk to them? I doubt we even can tell those postures apart, because we are so hired to follow and draw negativity about life, that’s hard to know when we are engaging in a topic with a fair sense of openness.

Which brings me back to the confrontational challenge. I may be a ceaseless optimist in my head, but if what I say won’t strike a chord in you, does it even matter that we chatted? I tried to answer it by realising when people won’t listen to you, it is not because they cannot understand where you are coming from, but because they don’t know (or don’t want to know) where they are going. It takes effort to exchange ideas when all you have is inside a closed box.

I was inclined to believe the unavoidable part of any confrontation was a direct consequence of lacking a common ground. It is more complicated than that. People live in different time capsules. We are all popcorn kernels in the same pot under the heat: one will burst first, others last, and some, never.

That’s when I realised that begging to disagree wasn’t such a terrible idea. It is not a misuse of empathy, there’re still cogs mirroring what is being said, although, if I am being honest to myself, it can be condescending. I just get comfort in accepting that at least for now, the time bubble hasn’t yet busted.

In order to use confrontations as a therapeutic tool, the first step isn’t giving space, but recognising the discomfort. You won’t acknowledge it aloud, except you register the temperature and stay put. Even apparently hermetically closed boxes need air in sometimes. If there is an opening, respectfully do proceed. It won’t take delusions away immediately, other than allowing to a stagnant mind new air.

I’ve learnt that putting an end to an impenetrable argument can be helpful. You no longer will expect a change of heart in a quick awakening. You otherwise considerately show room for subscribing to alternative opinions, even if only on your way out. Let those kernels pop in their own time, I say to myself. In the end, whence the confront approaches, it can be a necessary move to pursue a quick dismiss, and hope for a better tomorrow, although oh boy, it took me a long walk to do this talk.


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