When we say, "I really relate to you" or "I really resonate with what you're saying," we're expressing a deep connection with someone whose perspective aligns closely with ours. In these relationships, communication feels seamless, and we trust our ability to navigate any challenges that arise. But what about those who don't share our viewpoint? What about those whose perspectives diverge from ours? How did you navigate through those dynamics? Were you advised to disregard the other person's perspective, or were you encouraged to respect their autonomy of thought?
It seems that society often promotes the idea of not befriending those with differing opinions. Instead of fostering understanding, we're often taught to impose our own views as superior. Without investing significant time in mastering effective listening and communication skills, we often fall into the trap of dismissing others' perspectives and shutting ourselves off from meaningful dialogue.
This trend isn't limited to personal relationships but extends to social media interactions as well. While it's crucial to voice our diverse perceptions, it's equally, if not more, vital to understand how to articulate them—a theme elaborated on in the forthcoming chapter, "Language That Empowers Growth."
When two individuals are solely focused on being heard and asserting their viewpoints, it leads to a futile exchange of energy. Instead of genuine understanding, all that ensues is escalating frustration and unresolved tensions.
I understand that what I'm discussing may sometimes appear as an unattainable "ideal." It's easy to feel overwhelmed when observing the events of the world through a lens of hopelessness. However, if we redirect our focus to the one thing within our control—ourselves—we can become positive influences simply by embodying kindness and engaging in respectful, compassionate dialogue.
That's precisely why it's crucial to deconstruct and examine the underlying systems of our thought patterns and beliefs. By exploring the roots of our anger and understanding our emotional triggers, we can cultivate a sense of inner security. This process involves recognizing that the notion of "control" is often illusory, diverting our attention from genuine inner turmoil. Admittedly, delving into the depths of our triggers can be daunting. It's tempting to seek distraction in anything and everything else rather than confronting our inner selves and embracing self-discovery.
Quick fixes often hold allure because they offer immediate relief, but they rarely address the root cause of our issues. Most healing methods, regardless of their level, tend to provide surface-level symptom relief rather than delving into the underlying issues. It's not to discredit the value of these modalities—they serve a purpose. However, seeking external sources solely to "feel better" has its limitations.
Ultimately, true transformation requires delving into the beliefs that shape our actions. Without addressing these core beliefs, we risk perpetuating the same patterns and circumstances in our lives. Immediate gratification may temporarily mask our challenges, but the underlying reasons will resurface. This principle applies across all aspects of life; for instance, even rigorous exercise cannot override feelings of unworthiness. I speak from years of personal experience living within this cycle.
Let's consider the people we gravitate towards—are they simply companions for commiseration, someone to vent alongside? Or do they offer understanding and reflection, willing to hold a mirror to our actions when needed? Do we respect others' individual journeys and thought processes, refraining from imposing our own ideals upon them?
Perhaps we find ourselves trapped in repetitive cycles because we surround ourselves with individuals who don't challenge our perspectives. Are the "resonant people" we keep close serving as distractions from confronting the harsh realities of our stagnant patterns?
These questions have echoed in my mind through various stages of personal growth, each prompting new insights without definitive answers.
It's natural to form bonds with those who share similar struggles, yet this camaraderie can also anchor us in perpetual challenges. Despite the discomfort it may entail, it's vital to question whether we prioritize others' contentment over our own desire for change.
Resistance often arises at this point, and that's perfectly natural. I've found myself confronting the unsettling choice between remaining within familiar cycles or forging a path towards new possibilities.
I feel that our ongoing quest to keep comfortable is keeping us in a struggle. Maybe we have become so comfortable in the struggle that we don't know what it's like to just BE?
In seeking out comfort and stability, we are forfeiting and allowing a slow and steady shift away from our center- that we only recognize once we have become so far from it.
This is my invitation for you. Welcome the discomfort and know that you are safe. Instead of quickly dismissing of someone's perspective, ask questions that relate back to them;
"help me understand this" "why do you feel this way?"
With each small inquiry, we can open up with curiosity and compassion.