“When we are no longer able to change a situation,
we are challenged to change ourselves.”
One thing is for sure, we are all uniquely created. Right down to our fingerprints, we are stamped with our own identity. Every single one of us is influenced by nature and nurture: our physical and mental makeup as well as our spiritual and social nature. When you think of all the variables that go into a life, it is no wonder that we are so different and have so many viewpoints!
From one vantage, this is incredibly profound–just think of the options and the diversity! But from a place of fear, differences sometimes hold us apart from one another and often in order to feel safe, we use labels to define this and that, what we like and what we don’t, what is right and what is wrong. Boundaries are a healthy way of knowing who and what you are–until the mind and heart close.
Part of the challenges today seems to stem from the fact that things are moving so quickly–time, information, and change. What we used to know as solid and secure no longer feels that way, and it is understandable that we start to reinforce those boundaries when things don’t feel right.
And yet, nature teaches us another way–the way of expansion. If I am willing to grow in my understanding and ability to see alternatives, then what works for you and what you believe doesn’t threaten me just because we don’t agree. There is space for both of us. That is the key. When we want so badly to hold onto our way and close out any challenge that may be perceived, we stop growing. We are here to expand and to continue to grow in all ways. That’s why it feels so bad when we close down–it isn’t our nature to do so.
When I was campaigning, I had a family member state they didn’t like my issue platforms and that I most assuredly would pay the price for having those positions. It first offended me, but then I realized that I just hit a cord with this person. It didn’t mean I was wrong. It didn’t mean they were wrong in their mind. We just didn’t agree. Could I still love the person even though we were worlds apart on issues? The answer is, of course, I could. I couldn’t change their view, and they couldn’t change mine. However, we could respect each other enough to know we are entitled to our beliefs. It was a great practice because I encountered many times when I was challenged for what I stood for, but in time, it didn’t bother me so much. It made me a better leader to learn to hold that space for each of us to have a voice and ideas of our own.
So when you feel insulted or offended by the things people say, the way they dress, or the ideas they have, ask yourself if you can make space for both of you. It frees you at the same time and makes room for options. We are never justified to be cruel to one another, and most of us would never consider hurting someone else. But from time to time, we have to reflect if our ideas and boundaries are worth clinging to when we use them to separate, discriminate and judge each other.