There Ain’t No Good Guy, There Ain’t No Bad Guy

August 24, 2012

dave_mason-we_just_disagree_s_1About 20 years ago my friend Mike told me music from the 70’s was superior to music from the 80’s. I thought he was crazy. Sure there was outstanding music in the 70’s, but 80’s music was awesome!

Today, I was listening to one of the great songs the 70’s by Dave Mason called “We Just Disagree”. It is about a relationship that has changed because the people in it had changed. The result is that they view life differently. I love the chorus that says,

So let’s leave it alone ’cause we can’t see eye to eye

There ain’t no good guy, there ain’t no bad guy

There’s only you and me and we just disagree

As a Mediator, I was struck by the truth of these lines. Most of the time when people disagree, they believe they are “right” and the other person is “wrong”. Of course, “right and wrong” translates to “good and bad”. I regularly see people in conflict who have convinced themselves that they are “right/good” and the other person is “wrong/bad”. The result is a refusal to try to imagine another perspective other than their own, and an intractable, negative conflict.

I had a very wise mentor who helped me with this. After a particularly difficult mediation session, I described the situation as having 3 different perspectives, “her side, his side and the truth”. My mentor told me how she used to look at things that way as well, but since came to realize that in conflict it is often just a case of different perspectives. For as many people that are involved in a conflict, there will be as many perspectives. People are all different with different experiences, different ideas and different feelings. The result is that no two people look at something exactly the same way.

Do I believe that right and wrong come into play? Yes, but less often than I used to think. Now, I can imagine that I am not the only one with the right perspective. With a more open mind to understand others, and more humility –I now have a greater appreciation for the rich variety of viewpoints around us at all times.

And by the way, 20 years later I realize Mike was right, music from the 70’s is WAY better than from the 80’s!

At least, that is MY perspective…