With all the political talk I’m continually amazed at how quickly I can allow myself to get sucked in, especially into conversations, podcasts, and articles written by people who agree with my thoughts and views. If I’m not careful I can easily pulled further into my ways of thinking as there are more and more points made for my point of view and absolutely zero argument for the other side. Next thing I know I’m so focused on how right I am and finding ways to prove that my way is the right way that I lose the ability to keep an open mind.
Conversely, some of the moments of greatest learning have come at the hands of people I disagree with. As long as there’s a respectful and open dialogue in which no one is trying to win I seem to learn more. Quite often I end up believing in my views even more strongly as the conversation and interaction cause me to look at my thoughts from other angles. Sometimes I change my mind thanks to see the logic through someone else’s eyes. Regardless, my understanding of the topic is enhanced and I have a stronger foundation of knowledge to form a more complete viewpoint.
The reason I’m thankful for this today is due in large part to an excellent podcast I listened to including an interview with a wonderful author I respect greatly. The podcaster is atheist and the author is Buddhist. During parts of the conversation they focused on religion. As a self identified Christian it would have been easy to call BS and immediately disagree. Instead I listened with an open mind and was able to gather some new insight into my own belief system. I still believe in what I did before, but with a more clear perspective. Had I not listened I would’ve easily missed these couple of nuggets.
It seems as so many of our issues come from pointing out all the ways we’re all different from each other. We each have to be right and prove that the others are wrong. What if we all practiced openness, listening, and acceptance? It’s taken me many years to realize that my religion is the right one… for me. Other religions (or even lack thereof) are possibly right for others. Why does one way have to be correct? As long as we all treat each other with dignity, respect, and, most importantly, love how could our beliefs and ideas be wrong?
Today was a wonderful reminder of just how important it is to me to listen to people with opposing views. We’re all people, we all have our own unique beliefs. By listening to the beliefs and views of others with an open mind and love in my heart I have the opportunity to grow into the best possible version of me.