There are so many things to be divided about lately. From political ideology, to social justice issues, to how to handle a pandemic, we are at no lack of things to be divided by. Yet, while it’s easy to become hardened in our thinking, based on our own beliefs and experience, I think all this division also provides an excellent opportunity to understand how others view these things. If we’re willing to listen to them and think about what they say.
It’s easy to reject someone who’s thoughts are different from ours, without even considering how their experiences might have shaped the way they see things. I’m not saying you have to embrace thinking that is totally untethered from reality. (That’s a discussion for someone else’s blog.) However, if we can actually listen to another person, without feeling we have to defend our position, we gain great insight into WHY they think the way they do. We still may not agree with their thinking, but at least we have a greater understanding of how they came to think what they do. Who knows, what we learn through listening to them might even cause our own thinking to be changed.
A lot of folks broadcast their opinion, solicited or not, under the guise that, “I just want to get other people to think.” That’s nice, but the question that always comes to mind when I hear that statement (or find myself saying it) is, “That’s great, but are you willing to think as well?”
We need to take a look at ourselves in the figurative mirror. If we’re not willing to consider a different perspective, or to see an issue from someone else’s point of view, then we should stop expecting others to consider our perspective and point of view. How can we tell others that they need to think about what we have to say, when we ourselves are unwilling to extend that same courtesy to them?