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Dealing with Differences
by Dr. Dale V. Atkins, October 2005

When we're overwhelmed by current events and all that we have to do, it's easy to become stressed and impatient with the people we live and deal with on a daily basis. Somethimes, we snap more easily and are not as accepting of other's differences of opinions and outlooks.

Here are some Sanity Savers to keep in mind when we have different viewpoints, especially with family members and co-workers.

Don't put down other's opinions - Try not to judge or criticize. Keep personalities and history out of it. Stick to the topic at hand.
Be creative in problem solving - Compromise is okay (even for parents!)
Allow yourself to see the other person's perspective and try something new - Just because you have always looked at a situation one way, doesn't mean it's the only way.
Discuss different aspects of a topic - Even if the subject matter is difficult and clear answers are hard to come by, hang in there.
Encourage and learn to be comfortable with individuality and individual expression - Allowing others to be themselves shows you care.
Listen better - Do not interrupt or don't anticipate what the other person will say. Try to understand their perspective. You do not have to agree.
Be patient and let others think things through - You lay the groundwork for mutual respect and consideration when it's time to say your "peace".

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