I once had a fellow church member who was very hard to get along with. At least, that was my opinion of her. However, I needed to work with her because she was a key player in the church, and I was actively involved with many of its leading activities.
I accepted over time that I was not going to change this person. Anytime I tried to modify her opinion, I failed. She would harden her position and we’d be further apart than ever on vital issues.
So, I changed my strategy.
Instead of trying to change her point of view to align with mine, I revised my point of view of her.
I committed to seeing in her everything I had learned from Christian Science about God’s man and the one Mind.
In Christian Science, there are not many minds. There is not one human will pitted against another. There is one Mind, the divine Mind, which all have in common.
This woman and I were of the same Mind, I prayed to see clearly. Any opinion, position, belief, or fear that seemed to divide us was not part of our mutual relationship with each other as members of the one Mind’s family, the family of God.
I accepted that if I ever saw her of a different mind than me, then that was my error. I was seeing her incorrectly, and reformation needed to happen in my point of view.
It required humility to do this because it still seemed like her point of view was on Jupiter and mine was on Saturn. But I persisted in humbling pride and ego until I could see one Mind expressed by both of us, instead of two minds at odds.
In practical terms, while I learned how to practice this prayer, I avoided getting into conversations or discussions that previously led to stalemate. I decided it simply wasn’t important to talk about those things until I got my point of view correct about her.
Several months, even a couple of years passed, while I perfected this prayer and found my peace. But it worked. Over that time period, her stance markedly softened, at least from my point of view! And we found issues in common that we were both passionate about and able to work together as one.
I was so grateful for this change because we both had so much to offer our organization, and when we started working together, instead of against each other, the organization was greatly benefited.
So, if you’re ever tempted to think you need to change your neighbor’s opinion first, before you can get along. Think again. It could be that a change in your point of view of them could be the decisive factor.