Let Their Disagreements Set You Free

It’s not the end of the world when someone disagrees with your point of view.

In fact, being challenged is an opportunity to set yourself free from a very common form of enslavement: psychological dependence on other people’s affirmation of your ideas.

It’s one thing to feel passionate about what you believe, but it’s another thing to lose your ability to sleep at night merely because your perspective isn’t universally shared. When someone says “You’re wrong” or “I don’t agree with this”, it gives you the chance to practice the art of remaining calm and composed in the face of dissent. This is not only a psychologically healthy thing to do, but it’s also a pragmatic skill to develop.

Most debates never go anywhere because the people involved can’t put enough space between their need to think rationally about what’s being said and their desire to defend themselves against perceived personal attack. When you’re free from the need to have other people agree with you, you’re free to question your beliefs without a sense of loss and you’re free to defend your ideas without getting defensive.

Sometimes you need to have discussions and debates about your differences. Sometimes you don’t. If you’re not addicted to anyone’s agreement, you’ll be in a much better position to think clearly about what you need to do and how you need to do it.

Philosophical reflection and conversation is at its best when it’s done because of a love for truth, not because of a need for approval.