“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” – Thomas Jefferson
This quote is such a refreshing one when I consider the level of animosity and divisiveness present in America today. I used to be interested in politics, but within today’s environment, it is impossible to watch the immature arguments that frequent our airwaves, social media, and all the rest.
Tolerance is the key word here.
We are all unique. We also have our opinions about things. True friendship is about understanding another person’s view and remaining friends regardless of their opinions.
I purposely read articles with opinions different from mine. I do this because I want to keep an open mind. I want to understand why people feel differently about an issue than I do. This has provided a real opportunity to reconsider my positions and maybe, just maybe, change them, if an article’s arguments are strong enough.
I was sucked into the political debate over and over throughout my life and still, at times, have a real difficulty not getting ticked off when someone comes to the table with a position that I am opposed to. Over time, I began to realize how idiotic this way of living is.
Once I began reading articles highlighting opinions that were opposite of mine I began opening my mind to these opinions and reading them. Some of them fail to convince me of anything. Some, however, get through. This is when something interesting occurs. I begin to see the other side of an issue and begin to realize that my position may have been wrong. Many times, I end up in the middle of an issue, taking the pieces of arguments from both sides and keeping the ones that I believe make the most sense.
I think back to the time of our nation’s founding and wonder how difficult the arguments must have been during Jefferson’s time. If he could argue these points with colleagues and remain friends, so could I. I have found over time that my learning has increased exponentially.
Open your mind to other people’s ideas and opinions. All you have to lose is the time you take to hear out someone’s point of view. If they don’t convince you, so be it. If they do, you have a better grasp of an issue and many times will arrive upon a solution that was much better than your one-sided view and the view of your colleague. The interaction allows you to see alternative solutions that would have been impossible had you not allowed yourself to be exposed to another’s opinion.
Enjoy your Saturday, readers!
Until next time…