This post suggests ways to become more understanding of others while continuing my week of honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.  mlk5

Yesterday in my Parents Are People Too Blog, I posted on ways to work toward peace.  Early on, I said “Banning guns will not end violence.”

A very good, very bright friend called me out on those six words saying it was a specious argument – meaning misleading and shallow.  I agree it might have been more sensible to say “Regulating guns will help, but not end gun violence.” Less challenging, but I wanted to join the debate and most headings or search results talk about banning.

By the way, in searching that issue I found this web page: Just the Facts.  At first I could not easily label it as pro or anti-guns, but I think in the long run it may be  pro-gun ownership. That may, however, be my bias.

Someone, I forget who, once asked me to name one situation in which someone’s life had been saved because they owned a handgun.  That was before the woman in Georgia killed an intruder when he tracked her down to her attic’s crawl space. Hope he reads the Just the Facts web page.

My issue with my friend, however, is her contention she would not have read past those six words if she had not known and liked me.  She said, she would have assumed I was just another “gun nut”.

To me  her stance was similar to turning away from someone because of their skin color, religion or lack of religion,  bad teeth – a money issue most often – or as I personally know happens often because of mis-spelled words or improperly punctuated sentences .

She is far from alone.  Many  rant against mental health labels, but apply other labels, particularly when it comes to politics, life-style, and religion.

Most who do so  believe they are extremely open-minded,  but  like many I know never  listen with openness to the other side.  If they listen at all, it is usually  to find the other person’s errors. Not helpful and as Dr. King suggests we move the world toward peace when we  listen in hopes of finding a common ground through truth or greater understanding of the other.


Go to the other side of your cherished beliefs. Spend half an hour reading or listening to someone you would not normally spend a minute with.  Now here is the hardest part. Listen or read to find  something you agree with.  It can be done.

I have a Facebook friend who I label as a ranting name caller.  Yes, I label. Moreover, I don’t read many of his posts.  His name-calling really turns me off.  Occasionally, I take him to task about something and occasionally I can agree with his main point, if not the way he rants. Then I will like the post.

Eventually, he showed up on Pinterest and I saw a whole different side to him. We both have a love of food and food shows. I became a bit more tolerant of his rantings. So as Dr. King says, go for understanding the other.


Tip one:  Start small.  Think about a friend you don’t want to talk politics with because you are both at ends of the spectrum.  Use the advice the parenting experts say to use with an argumentative teen.  Try “I messages”, but also minimal response meaning: “Ummm” or “I hear” of “Interesting” or “Tell me more.”

At some point  find a point that allows you to say, “I agree with this point of yours. What about my stance do you think has some merit?”  What I see from many is agreement on what the problem is, but divergence on solutions.  I believe any agreement is a beginning and should be honored.

Tip two:  Love the New York Times editorial page, hate the Wall Street Journal. Switch.  Love the Atlantic Monthly and hate Commentary? Switch.

Tip three: Every week, find a post from the other side’s camp that  you see as holding to a  bit of  truth, like it and post it on your own social media page. You can and should note what you agree with and what you disagree with. 


Working to make the world better is a key emotional fitness exercise embodied in the exercise Remember What Matters. Here is another quote by Dr. King and one we all need to remember.


Liking, commenting, sharing are acts of social media kindness and very easy to practice.  So be kind to me and all your media friends. I promise you will be repaid.



Click here for my free E-book about  the Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises.

All my books are available at Katherine Gordy Levine on Amazon.

Visit me at: Emotional Fitness Training on Pinterest  or When Good Kids Do Bad Things Facebook Page.


Even the most learned researchers and therapists quarrel about much.  Take their advice and mine carefully.  Don’t just listen to your heart, but also think; don’t just think, listen to your heart.  Heart and head working together increase the odds you will find useful advice amid all the promises and hopes pushed at you be others.  As others have noted, take what seems useful, leave the rest.


If  you need perfect posts, you will not find them  here;  I will understand if you don’t follow, like or share what  like me.  Not only am I dealing with an aging brain, but all of my life,  dysgraphia–a learning disability has eaten my energy and diminished my productivity.   Some of my posts might be peppered with bad spelling, poor punctuation, and worse words that make no sense.  If  you want to hang in with me, thank you; you are kind. If a post doesn’t make sense or bugs you too much, try reading it a few days later.  Often I catch the worse mistakes when I read the post after a few days.


Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.

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