439: How to Get Along With People You Disagree With

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hal elrod get along with people

How does it make you feel when people you know—whether it’s your family, friends, co-workers, or even just acquaintances on social media—have opposing views on topics that are important to you? 

I recently shared something on social media that prompted a lot of critical feedback, and those comments inspired today’s episode. 

Although most of us connect more easily with people who think like we do, the reality is that we’re not all going to be on the same page, so how do we engage effectively with those we disagree with? 

Do we choose to judge, condemn, and perpetuate polarization? Or do we choose to respect each other’s opinions and come from a place of love and understanding? 
In the spirit of striving for unity, I want to talk to you about three (3) considerations to help you get along with people you disagree with. I also want to respond to some of the feedback I received from that social media post, then discuss what we can do to get along better with everyone—no matter how different they may be.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What it really means when an intelligent person thinks the exact opposite way that you do on a topic. 
  • How to keep an open mind, learn what someone else thinks and feels, and grow and evolve with them.
  • How learning someone’s perspective gives you the key to unconditional empathy and love for all people. 
  • What happened when I shared a post by an alternative doctor on Facebook–and how my own experience prompted me to share that message with my audience.
  • How to transcend toxic tribalism and ideology and work to become a beacon of peace, empathy, and understanding.

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16 Responses

  1. Absolutely essential message for the times we are living in. It is hard for me to fathom that you received so many negative comments for what you posted, I was certain it was going to be in regards to something on the current hot topic of contention (abortion) or something else along political lines. The fact that people are so up-in-arms about holistic vs. western medicine just boggles my mind. I pray that those people that “unfollowed” you and whatnot find the peace, understanding, and empathy that they are lacking. Thank you for sharing, as always, and sending lots of love your way!

    1. Ryan, I’m with you – it never crossed my mind that I’d get so many negative comments when I shared that post. But I appreciate the lesson. Thank you for your support, and for sharing your perspective!

  2. Hi Hal, I absolutely loved that podcast !!!!
    I remember seeing your post and thinking that it was right! From a lot of books I read + experience with my mum having breast cancer 11 years ago and leukemia because of the chemo just for the cancer to come back few years agp, YES YES YES to all what you said!!!!
    I also really appreciated the previous podcast about who I am. As a Yoga teacher, this is the basis of Yoga philosophy and it brings so much peace to not identify to our jobs, titles, roles etc… but to look deeper!
    I usually never leave any comments but the 2 last podcast really resonated with me ever more than usual (I am a big fan for 6-7 years now, started with miracle morning, which brought Yoga to my life and was the beginning of something huge for me!
    Thank you Hal, keep doing what you do !!!!

    1. Gwen, I’m so glad you loved this episode!!! :^)

      And I’m honored that, although you normally never leave any comments, you left one on this episode! Hopefully this won’t be the last time, and I’ll hear from you again in the future!

      Congratulations on discovering yoga and making it a part of your life!

      With love & gratitude,
      – Hal

  3. I feel the same way. All you did was post it for people to consider. What you said was reasonable and not derogatory against main stream medicine at all. Their reaction was totally on them. Yes it would have been better if you had posted the explanation along with the shared post right from the beginning but now you’ll know better for next time. Live and learn right? I’m so glad you survivedxtgat crisis. I would have handled it exactly the same way.

    1. Kathatrine, thank you for your thoughtful perspective! I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to share! 🙏🏼❤️

  4. Hal, I loved that you took the opportunity to turn this experience into a great message. So much is packed in this podcast! I fully support integrative medicine and a wholistic approach to “health care” so we are in agreement on that subject. Although you humbled yourself to admit your post was done in a bit of haste, you stood fast to your personal convictions. I picked up on the word “tribal.” I personally feel that during the pandemic, we have reverted to more tribal behavior, anthropologically. Oxford’s definition of tribe begins with “a social division in a traditional society.” It seems many are also stuck in the stress response of “fight or flight” and it comes through in social media. Thank you for reminding us that harmony should trump ideology in our relationships with those we love and care about. We have practiced this in our family with our adult children and it has led to many meaningful discussions, even though we may disagree on ideologies.

    I have restarted my 30-day challenge with S.A.V.E.R.S. I recognized one of your level 10 affirmations, in this podcast, “I refuse to judge others, because I recognize that I have no way of knowing that, had I lived another person’s life, I might talk and act exactly the same way.” Maybe those who replied to your podcast “in judgement,” without considering your journey with and victory over, cancer, could use some level 10 Affirmations. May peace be with you 🙏

    1. Hi Teresa, thank you so much for your thoughtful and encouraging message! I’m glad to hear you’ve restarted your 30-day challenge with S.A.V.E.R.S., and I think we could all use some level 10 affirmations! 😁

  5. Hi Hal, your message “HOW TO GET ALONG WITH PEOPLE YOU DISAGREE WITH” is well taken and appreciated. In my personal opinion, this can be well practiced within a limited community, as I believe I am trying to practice even now. Still I have two concerns when thinking about large communities.
    1. If we just accept the ideology of other party as a result of the environment he has brought up or the environment he is being with, and neglect to oppose, that party may think that there is no alternative thinking and he will carry on that ideology without any hindrance. When think about some such ideologies, those are very detrimental to other parties/ persons/ society.
    2. If we just eliminate our views as ‘tribal thinking’ and just keep silence and calm, we may get destroyed by other party. Let me explain by a real world example. Community A thinks in way you explain and honors the ideology of Community B and live lookin after their own matters. Community B preaches rest of the world of also think on the way Community B thinks and they preached other ideologies should be destroyed. So the community A becomes a victim of community B and get destroyed within a short time. This is a very common thing happening even these days in our world.
    How are going to explain this dilemma ?, interesting and eager to hear about.

    1. Hi Keerthi, thank you so much for voicing your thoughtful concerns.

      1. This is an excellent distinction. I don’t think it’s either-or, but rather yes-and. In other words, you can accept someone who has an opposing ideology, and still make your case for what you believe is right. In fact, I think it’s as important as ever for us to engage in civil discussions, remain open-minded, and genuinely seek to understand and consider all perspectives. I believe we should seek to learn and evolve through thoughtful consideration of opposing viewpoints.

      2. Similar to the first discussion point, above, using your example – Community A should fight for what it believes in (I use the word “fight” in the context of non-violent communication). Of course, if Community B gets aggressive and initiates violence, then I believe Community A should stand their ground. Of course, in a perfect world, both Community B and Community A are respectful and empathetic towards each other. I think we’re both well aware that we don’t live in a perfect world, and there are certainly people in the world (Community B) who seek to exert force onto others. I hope that all the members of Community A are courageous and stand up for what they believe is right.

      Thank you again, Keerthi!

  6. Wow. I just had a similar experience. I also interacted with the medical establishment in a way that led me to be very critical of it and to be more supportive of alternative approaches and this affects how I view many public policy issues. I recently wrote something on Facebook expressing some critiques of mainstream medicine and received some very harsh responses. It was painful in that their responses made me feel they hadn’t actually heard me and were not actually addressing my points and were attacking my standing to speak, and because it made me frustrated about people’s receptiveness to improve treatment for people who are suffering.
    At a certain point I realized that my own difficult experience was behind all this and decided to reach out by direct message to a friend who had been pushing back hard against my posts, and share with him my own experience. Now he did listen and validate my experience and also shared that he had been seriously helped by the same medical establishment. This made me a lot more sensitive to her side. After that exchange, I would now frame my critiques in a very different way more sensitive to the positives of modern medicine.
    I think this is a very important insight for us in sharing posts aimed at challenging and changing views. We should try to express validation and recognition of their concerns and values, of the benefits of their views, and also speak in their language.
    In Jewish tradition the Torah commands us to reprimand our fellows–to call out others if they are doing wrong, harming themselves or others. The Rabbis added the important interpretation that one must only reprimand in a way that will be received. They said that just as it is obligatory to reprimand in a way that will be received, it is forbidden to reprimand in a way that will not be received. I think this connects to our discussion.

    1. Ben, thank you so much for sharing your story! What a beautiful example of how we can get along with people we disagree with and broaden our perspective by engaging in open-minded discussion with others. It sounds like you grew from this experience, and I would imagine that he did as well.

  7. Thank you for this episode. I am a hairstylist with very strong opinions. With the current climate of the country it has been really difficult navigating the differences in opinions. I really appreciate your insight in this episode.
    PS today was my first miracle morning 🥳

  8. Thank you so much for this episode,Even though I am a 17-year-old girl But you give me so much inspiration .
    I love your podcasts💕

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