As humans, we always seek familiarity, comfort and consistency. This makes sense because familiar things are more likely to be safer, and that’s why we evolved to like them. What we end up doing is surrounding ourselves with what we know, and people who present ideas that are not foreign to our minds, ideas we agree with. That’s why you might see Christians hanging out with Christians and agnostics hanging out with agnostics. But could it be that we have more to learn from people who disagree with us than people who agree with us?
When we meet people who don’t think the way we do, the general reaction is, “If they don’t agree with me, then there must be something wrong with them.” Why isn’t it the other way around though? If you disagree with them, maybe there’s something wrong with you. Why don’t we think about that? Maybe you’re the one having a mind too closed up. Maybe you’re not having a wide enough perspective. Maybe there are facts you’re not considering and that’s why you have your specific set of beliefs.
But often, we get so afraid of people that try to disrupt our world with their new ideas, that we avoid them completely. And like that, we miss the chance to open our minds, to learn new things, and to get wiser.
If there is a certain group of people that like somebody you despise, instead of immediately concluding that there’s just something wrong with them, or “they just don’t see how bad that person is,” maybe you should try to interact with these fans and find out the genuine reasons why they ride with the person. In the same way, if there are people that hate Beyonce, even though you think she’s next to God, then hang out with these people, find out why they could dare hate the Queen.
If you find people who are genuinely happy to live in a Congo village rather than New York, go hang out with them for a little bit and find out “what could possess them to love such a barbaric lifestyle.” In the same way, if you find people that love the city lifestyle while you can’t imagine life outside the peaceful rural landscapes, go spend a month or two in the city and find out what all the buzz is about.
Don’t be afraid to face new ideas with boldness. Seek out people who disagree with you and let them introduce you to a new world. Don’t be afraid that they will “corrupt” you or make you “just as bad as them.” Truth will always prevail. If what you believe is the real truth, and what they believe is wrong, then your truth will conquer. You will come out of the interactions believing your ideas even more strongly. If it’s not the truth, then you’ll have the opportunity to learn the truth. But that can’t happen if you close yourself up in a bubble of familiarity.
Start looking at people you disagree with as opportunities for learning, and not as enemies to be avoided.
Cheers to life!
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