By Christine Sederquist
WCRL VP of Communications
Forbearance isn’t a word you hear too often. The dictionary defines it at “patient self-control; restraint and tolerance”. Its synonyms include “abstinence” and “tolerance”. In other words, “know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em”.
My mother used to always tell me not to talk about politics with people, because people get so passionate that it can ruin friendships. I think we’ve all felt so strongly on something that we want to scream it at anybody we can find and make them listen. But think of national figures who do that. How successful are they in swaying others to their side?
It’s about as effective as yelling at someone to “calm down”.
To be able to affect change, whether in a society, in a group, or with an individual, you need to know when to hold back your every thought and instead, try to understand where the other person is coming from. We can never convince someone that our way is the true path if all we do is attack, but by practicing forbearance, we demonstrate our reasonableness and our respect for the person we’re speaking to, and that person is more likely to respect our opinions so we can find some common ground.
Over the next month, take a look at how you demonstrate your opinions, whether face to face or on social media. Are you practicing forbearance and being persuasive, or are you yelling “calm down” in an echo chamber of your own making?