We Can Disagree

We Can Disagree


I came across a children’s book called We Disagree by Bethanie Deeney Murguia, which provided me with some insightful thoughts about how we teach lessons to children up until a certain age, but at some point we stop. It is apparent in society that we need to remember these lessons lifelong. We Disagree is about a mouse and a squirrel that disagree on everything. They cannot possibly be friends. Each conversation is a disagreement from the colours they like to the types of animals they like. They don’t agree until they get so frustrated they both agreed to not be friends. Once they acknowledged that they mutually agreed on something, they wanted to connect on everything else they could disagree on.

Right now, the world is polarized on so many levels. People have been isolated due to the pandemic and have been spending the majority of the last year more alone than usual. The connections they have are virtual and the information they receive is manipulated by the algorithms of google, facebook, instagram, etc. The pandemic has triggered anger and fear along with it’s prolonged cortisol-inducing reality. 

Polarization is only increasing as one’s confirmation bias and endless internet scrolling validates their opinions. Whether it is the COVID19 restrictions, the vaccine, the elections, isolation, climate change, the economy, wearing a mask, or vegetarianism, people separate themselves more and more from others who do not agree with them. Relationships are breaking outside and inside homes. Being right has become more important than living in harmony with one another and celebrating difference. 

The problem with polarization is not that people disagree, it is that we learn the most from connecting with others who have different opinions than us. We only have our opinions because we were fed, or sought out information that helped us to form the things we believe. We also have lived experiences that contribute to our opinions.

We can be wrong. Nobody knows everything and if we believe too strongly in what we know as right, we close the doors to potential learning opportunities and connection. Both, very important for growth and fulfillment in life.

What if we leaned in to the conversations of disagreement and instead of fighting for our opinion, we listened. What if we still agreed on other things and could still connect and contribute to one another’s lives.

This story not only showed emotional maturity and the ability to hear one another’s opinions in a kind way, but it showed how significant polarization and transformation. Whether in our relationships or our elections, we can depolarize.

We will not agree with everything people believe, not even those closest to us. We can, however, learn from everyone and still support one another. We can disagree. We can have peace.

May you be well. 

Nikita Paddock

Founder of I AM RESILIENT.