- Put aside the need to be right or win. Instead, no matter how painful it feels or how long it takes, each person or party needs to listen and learn from the opposing person or party. This requires asking question after question until each party has a full understanding of what is important to the other and why. This inquiry needs to be comprehensive and in-depth. Each party needs to put aside any past conclusions and approach the conversation with a fresh view and an open mind. Even if you don’t agree with another’s opinion and perspective, you can find understanding and empathy for why this perspective is so important to them.
- Understand that in every crazy idea, there is an opening for brilliance. If you dismiss the message based on the messenger, you will miss some great ideas. Be willing to listen and separate out how you feel about the general approach and philosophy from the pearls that just might be glistening within the dialogue. It is also important to remember that most great ideas come from brain storming sessions—where there are no “crazy ideas”, only ideas that trigger other ideas until that one brilliant idea surfaces—that brilliant idea that resonates with everyone—the one idea that no one could have ever conceived without the participation of the opposing point of view.
- Open up the system. Closed systems become stagnant and toxic. Americans need to bring new life, new members, and new ideas to Congress. Congress may need to invite outside consultants, thought leaders, and other voices to generate solutions that work. You may need to bring clergy, therapists, or other experts to help break the bubble that you and your significant other have created so that new ways of relating can be achieved. When you are stuck in deadlock, the system needs to be busted!
- Create something bigger than your two opposing views. When two parties are deadlocked in fighting over who is right, it becomes imperative to find a higher common ground. The easiest and most powerful way to do this is to find a greater purpose in which to unite. Focusing on a greater purpose and vision makes it possible to let go of hidden and individual agendas and find ways to work towards higher goals. There certainly is no shortage of higher goals when it comes to our country. And I’m sure there are a multitude of higher purposes for your relationship. Let go of your ego, let go of your version of what the “we” should look like, and create a unified vision based on something bigger than you could ever have imagined on your own. Be bold.
- Concede that the deadlock is here to stay. Sometimes a relationship is simply “un-workable.” If two people or two parties or two countries can’t do the work, then it may make more sense for the relationship to end. In the case of Congress, maybe the time for our two party system is over. Maybe it is time to completely transform our process for electing officials and open the system up to a non-party system. In the case of countries, for those that can’t get along and figure it out, maybe the international community needs to step in and find a temporary solution until they are able to do so on their own.
Julie Orlov, MAOL, MSW, LCSW
Speaker, Psychotherapist, Coach and Author of The Pathway to Love:
Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery
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"Men lie the most lies, but women tell the biggest lies … a man's lie is, 'I'm at Tony house, I'm at Kenny house!' A woman lie is like, 'It's your baby!'"
- From Bigger and Blacker
Credit: Chris Rock in 'Top Five'