Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. Rumi - 13th century Sufi poet

We all have different backgrounds and a lifetime of experiences that have formed our current viewpoints, perspectives, beliefs and values. It is no wonder that we all see the world in different ways and that when these come together disagreements and conflicts can arise.

We can have a tendency to see our viewpoints, perceptions and beliefs as the truth and those of others as wrong.

Possibly the most useful attitude to bring to a difficult conversation is realising that it would be impossible for us to see situations in the same way, due to our individual experiences. Being curious about the experiences and viewpoints of others and using them to build a wider truth that incorporates all experiences and viewpoints helps steer us away from the mindset of right and wrong.

Providing time to share individual's narratives, stories, and experiences connects us to them in our shared humanity. Narratives and stories help unite heads, hearts and spirits. We realise that our story is different and get a better picture of other views of the world.

Sharing experiences reveals where our perceptions are similar and where they differ. This can become the focus of a conversation, which encourages us to stick to our views, and does not help. The book Difficult Conversations by Bruce Patton, Douglas Stone, and Sheila Heen, describes an idea called the AND stance. This emphasises that it is ok for two opposing things to exist without having to be resolved. This enables us to acknowledge alternative views and not to have to try to resolve them before moving forward. It is particularly helpful when the conversation gets stuck with who is right.