Thank God for Reminders
Just this morning I texted someone that Trump’s cabinet choices were NOT diverse, NOT qualified, and were obviously receiving kick back for supporting him on the campaign trail.
And then I received a reminder.
Thank God for reminders.
And for dark chocolate.
And the fact that Hollywood is finally making super hero movies and kickass sci-fi action flicks with women at the helm. Smart women. Resourceful women. Fully dressed women. But, I digress.
I was reminded that there is always a third side.
Thank God for the TED Radio Hour, for it reminded me that there’s room for reconciliation so long as someone is on the third side. The concept of the third side comes from William Ury. Check him out here. Totally inspiring.
I like this theory, which reminds me of the concept of walking the middle path - a path of wisdom between extremes. A path I envision as a knife edge high-altitude rocky ridgeline exceptionally difficult to balance on due to unstable footing and strong winds racing up and over. It’s the path I tried to walk while communicating with my ex. It’s the path I try to walk in every conflict I face, for the person on the path can affect those around them.
The thirdsider is a person who can transform conflict too. It’s someone who looks for the concerns underneath the divisive rhetoric. It’s someone taking the balcony view, a bigger view. It’s someone asking for the fears and thoughts that are underneath what’s being said or screamed. It’s someone seeking and identifying info. With someone in this role, there is a chance for dialogue.
Dialogue. Not debate. They are radically different, for debate is oppositional. One side tries to poke holes in the others’ arguments or prove them wrong, and that pretty much sums up every bad argument I’ve ever been in. But, dialogue is collaborative. In dialogue, both parties explore common ground.
I know from experience that all you need is one person willing to find the third side in order to change the dynamic of what’s happening.
Perhaps this is what life coaches, counselors, pastors, or mentors do – teach people about that third side… or open up the possibility for people to find the role of thirdsider on their own. Help people to observe and not get sucked into conflict. Help people find their own emotional triggers, choose responses. Remind people to be curious about others in a conversation. Help people reconnect with their empathy, especially for those who have no empathy for them.
If you’re spending more time proving your point rather than asking for another’s point of view, you’re not on the third side. If you’re emotional, you’re not on the 3rd side. If you want to punch the guy in the face, you’re not in the third side.
Full disclosure here. When my partner told me he had had several affairs, I definitely was not on the 3rd side. It seems I reserve the use of the word “douchebag” for those times when I’m fully on 1 side and pissed. When I sold my home and moved to another state without a job waiting, I was not on the 3rd side. When I hear talk of registering muslims, I’m not on the 3rd side.
But I’m practicing.
I still need reminders.