Are you a parent who wants your child to study hard and get better grades? Are you a member of a community who wants to end violence on your streets? Dr. Robin says no matter the situation, if you want to affect a system or change someone's behavior, you first must show respect. "You've got to listen to things that really don't float your boat, you've got to learn to tolerate conversations you don't agree with," Dr. Robin says.
Fear is an approach Dr. Robin says many people use to make a point or affect a system. While scaring someone into doing something may work, Dr. Robin says it doesn't really change a life. "Fear isn't the thing that will rectify a situation," she says. "It won't bring someone out of the darkness into the marvelous light. Fear is the thing that makes us shrink and go away from the table of opportunity and dialogue."
Dr. Robin says you can show respect to others through the tone of your voice and the words you choose. "You can't demean someone [and] then call them to the table to play marbles with you," she says. "You can't steal from someone—meaning their dignity—and think after you have taken their dignity that you can sit across the dinner table with them and expect them to listen to you." While respecting an idea or system that you don't agree with can be difficult, Dr. Robin says controlling your own behavior is a great first step.
"If you find yourself bubbling with anger or getting really frustrated, then go put yourself in a corner and sit down for a minute and chill," Dr. Robin says. "Take that deep breath and then come back into the dialogue."
Printed from Oprah.com on Thursday, December 12, 2013