A couple hours ago I posted a question on Facebook.
Without mentioning specifics:
Do you consider that you and I agree on major topics, or disagree? (Masks, politics, religion, etc)
I was honestly curious to see how people would answer.
And I loved the feedback I got from it. A lot of “agrees,” some of which I think are right and others are not so much (because of who I used to be versus who I am now). But what made my heart happy was the ones who said we disagreed, but that our friendship was more valuable than having similar opinions.
And in all honesty, that’s why I asked the question.
For every single hot-button issue out there, I know someone who feels exactly the opposite way that I do.
And not just “someone,” but someone I care for. Someone whose friendship really means something to me.
I find that to be really important.
Because now, every time I catch myself thinking, “How could people think __________?” I realize that a dear friend of mine holds that belief. And because I respect that person, knowing their decision was as well-thought-out and as emotionally involved as mine, I have to stop that line of thinking.
Immediately it changes to “okay, I can’t imagine seeing it that way, but clearly it’s more involved than I was letting myself imagine.”
ALL topics apply. When I get frustrated over people’s opinions of the importance of masks, or when I see a political ad. Whenever it gives me an emotion, good or bad, I remind myself that someone is having the exact opposite feeling to the same thing.
If you don’t have a friend who disagrees with you on major issues, I highly recommend that you change that. (though, I wouldn’t recommend finding one friend with 100% different views. That could be tough to find enough common ground to keep the friendship going). But dig deep.
Caveat: I don’t TALK about these topics with any of them. But they know how I feel, and I know how they feel. Instead, we focus on the things we DO have in common, and silently but respectfully disagree on the other issues. I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to talking about hot-button issues with people who feel differently, so I am not going to tell you to go out and do something I would never have the guts to do. All I’m suggesting is the importance of caring for someone who feels differently, so you don’t start making “them” into some kind of monster in your mind. That’s when things become dangerous, and especially in a year with a Presidential election, it’s really easy to put everyone into a box: “Smart like me” or “dumb because they disagree.”
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