i can remember at age 5 being held tightly on a fat woman’s lap when I wanted to get down and run free. That same feeling has been known to appear in my body during large family gatherings, such as family reunions, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. How do you maintain a comfortable inner climate when confronted with bigotry, arrogance, male or female chauvinism, rigidity of view-point, etc. by someone with whom you must be polite? The stomach juices bubble as you try to keep your opinions under cover. There is a simple strategy that works wonders for your internal climate. Give up JUDGEMENT and replace it with CURIOUSITY. Ask the irritating member to tell you how this opinion was formed. Then listen carefully, without interrupting. You do not have to agree, but if you listen, you will learn a lot of interesting information about how the other gathered his/her world- view. From this information, you will understand the other person better. You do not have to agree in order to keep the interaction on an even keel. Just listen, then move on to someone that you like better. If you are willing to listen to those who “see” the world differently, you will reap many rewards, not available to those who blow up or only interact with people who are exactly like them.

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