Ways to think and act dialectically

Dialectics teach us that there is always more than one way to see a situation and always more than one way to solve a problem. It considers all people to have unique qualities and different points of view.  It points out the only change is constant and stresses the importance of  NOT looking at the world in absolutes - black and white, all or none. It can help us find our way to the middle path.  The concept of "Middle"  in Buddhism means neutral, upright and centered.  Two things that seem like opposites can both be true. For example you are doing the best you can (acceptance) AND you need to do better, try harder, and be more motivated to change (change).

Ways to think and act dialectically:

1. Practice looking at other points of view. There are multiple sides to story. Try to find the kernel of truth in more than one side.

2. Remember that no one has the absolute truth

3. Use "I feel ______" statements. Instead of  "you are this way or that way" statements or "that's jus the way it is" statements. Be descriptive.

4. Do not assume that you know what is in someone else's head. Check out your assumptions. For example, "Why did you say that?" " What did you mean by that?" Do not expect that other people can read your mind. For example, "What I am trying to say is...... I feel ______ about ...."

5. Accept that different opinions can be legitimate (although you do not have to agree with them). Understanding someone's point of view is not approval. For example, "I see your point of view even though I do not agree with it."

6. Move away from "either-or" thinking to "both-and" thinking. Avoid words like "always" or "never". Be descriptive. For example, instead of saying, "everyone always treats me unfairly," say, "sometimes I am treated fairly AND at other times I am treated fairly".