Opinions—we all have them, and we all want to share them. But how can we share our opinions without offending others? Learn about core values and holding space.
A Difference of Opinions
“Why do you park here?” I asked my husband as he pulled into a middle row near the front of the Wal Mart entrance.
He gave me a quizzical look.
“I never park here,” I told him. “When you park here, you have to drive in front of the store, and that always takes more time because of pedestrians.”
He laughed. “I prefer to park here because the slope of the parking lot will prevent stray shopping carts from rolling downhill and damaging our car.”
Two opinions, equally valid, but very different. Our opinions came from our core values. I hate wasting time (having to wait for pedestrians crossing into the store), so I based my opinion on my core values. Pedro wants to steward our possessions so they last longer (and don’t need expensive body repairs), so he based his opinion on his core values.
What Exactly are Core Values?
Core values make up the fabric of our character, they can include things like:
- Good humor
- Spirit of adventure
- Service to others
- Doing what God wants us to do
Every person has the right to his or her core values—and his or her opinions. When we disagree with someone, we probably don’t share the same core values (or the core value they express falls further down on our list).
Therefore, when we write about controversial topics, we need to understand that our opinion comes from our core values—and that not all of our readers will share the same core values. In other words, we need to come from a position of humility and curiosity.
In the conversation with my husband, I should have asked him why he parked where he did, rather than sharing my strong opinion with him first. Voicing my opinion like that made me come across as petty and critical—and who wants to hang out with people like that?
The same principle applies to what we say on our blogs. When we come from a position of curiosity and humility, we draw people in. Spouting our opinions as if they represent the gospel truth turns people away.
Rather than diving into a divisive argument, we need to learn to hold space for people with opinions that differ from ours. Holding space (an idea I heard on a podcast by Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt Miller about confrontation and adapted to fit bloggers) involves a series of actions based on the acronym SPACE:
S—stop the protest that comes to our lips at the first sign of a different opinion.
P—probe by asking questions from a position of curiosity and humility.
A—acknowledge that the other person has different ideas from ours and respectfully admit that they have the right to their opinion.
C—consider their core values.
E—Explain our position—but ask permission first.
Holding space on our blogs means we don’t fear to tell the truth, but we do it in such a way that we invite conversations. We don’t want people to feel unwelcome or shamed by the conversation.
I don’t have all the answers to the tricky question of how to share strong opinions without offending your readers. But I do know that sharing stories and letting people form their own opinion works better than me stating my opinion upfront. I can use questions to help readers probe their own conscience and think about their own core values in a way that portrays kindness.How to hold space for strong opinions on your blog. #blogger #opinion #controversy Click To Tweet
Don’t get me wrong, I have strong opinions concerning just about everything. As I get older, I hope I’ve learned to value other people’s opinions and see things from their point of view.
Come back tomorrow when I share my workflow and how it has increased my productivity.