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Last week, I wrote about the defining characteristics of polarization.  In short, this might include a pattern of thought that lends itself toward either/or thinking.  Examples might involve taking the stance that I am right and you are wrong; there is no room for negotiation.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is one of the tools that I tend to use in therapy but is also something that’s guided my life.  This refers to the belief that one can hold two opposing viewpoints (dialectics) at the same time.  It’s the ability to utilize critical thinking skills to explore all sides of an argument before coming to an agreement or plan of action.  This requires some degree of connection; an understanding of all points-of-view.

Building connection with someone who holds a viewpoint that is different from our own is not as difficult as it sounds, as long as both parties are respectful and mature in their communications. Both parties must be willing to work toward the “both/and” approach.  This means that there is a willingness to hear one another’s point-of-view with the belief that there can be a solution that is agreeable to both.

Connection is something that takes discernment and humility.  It generally takes a conscious effort to set aside judgements and preconceived notions to strive for a new and/or deeper understanding of the issues at hand.  This is something that I work on with couples in therapy.  It’s also something that we must do on a personal level, to find our connection with ourselves.  And sometimes, this is the very thing that allows us to begin to interact with our community in a respectful and mindful manner.