Someone made a very astute comment on Facebook recently that has stuck with me. Basically, what he said was “how can you grow if all you ever hear is your own echo?”
He meant that how could you ever mature and learn if all you ever listened to and read were people who only expressed those views you agreed with? How could you continue to expand your horizons if you shut out any dissenting opinions and opposing viewpoints?
That’s a valid question.
If you want to grow, I think it’s good to occasionally read a book that you know you will disagree with. It’s good to listen to someone who espouses a different worldview than you. If you lean to the left politically, maybe read something or listen to a speech given by a conservative, and visa-versa.
You’ll probably get angry with what you read. But then you have to ask yourself why you’re angry. Is it that what the person is saying causes you to doubt your own viewpoints? Or maybe have you fallen into the trap of demonizing anyone who disagrees with your worldview?
You’ll know you’ve reached maturity when you can disagree with something or someone and still respect their arguments that are put forth in a civil manner. You can choose to see that people have the right to believe differently than you and that maybe if you had shared the same experiences you might have a similar viewpoint.
I’m still hoping that we can reach the point where we can sit down with our political opponents and talk through our issues rather than blasting each other from a distance and spouting hateful rhetoric and insults.
It’s best to take everyone else more seriously and take yourself a lot less seriously. Remember that there’s a lot yet that you don’t know, so keep an open-mind when it comes to people you disagree with. We could all learn something.