Michael in Growth 10 minutes

A Proper Understanding of the Opposition

Here’s a fun exercise: first read the first five headlines on DailyKOS. Next read the first five headlines on Lucianne. See any patterns?

On DailyKOS you get the feeling that Republicans are heartless idiots with half a brain, and that our world’s problems would be solved if they would just get out of the way of progress.

On Lucianne, you get the feeling that Democrats are heartless idiots with half a brain and that our world’s problems would be solved if they would just get out of the way of progress.

If you’re the typical American, you probably relate to one site and not to another.

I’ve only recently recognized how destructive this is to my life, my thinking, and my relationships.

If I want to pursue a life of meaning and purpose, I need to be constantly open to the reality that I don’t have all the answers and pursue growth in all areas. If I’m doing this right this means that I will learn from people with drastically different perspectives than me. If I was only a part of the American Political echo chamber on either side, I would in effect cut myself off of half of the country’s ideas and thoughts. This isn’t a recipe for growth.

If I want to deepen my ability to think about tough, difficult issues the world faces, I need to be constantly open to the reality that tough issues cannot be reduced to simple soundbite answers those from the media on both sides provide. If I go through life just listening to one side and thinking that if the other side would just grow half a brain we’d all move past these elementary problems, I end up being mentally lazy. And I don’t grow.

If I want to have people in my life that I can influence, I need to constantly be open to the reality that I can never influence people who totally agree with me. That’s an impossibility built on a perfectionistic lie that the only think keeping people from succeeding is their idiotic ideas that you have obviously moved passed.

So if you’re a Republican and meet a Democrat and think to yourself, “What a tool of the liberal media elite”, you’re killing the relationship right then and there. You may still spend time with this person and some of it may be enjoyable. But if you think that someone in terms of a tool and not a thinking breathing person, they will notice this and they will not listen to you.

Growth in meaning, thinking, and relationships begin with accepting that you don’t know everything and thus could be wrong. It then follows that you accept all types of people in your life to sharpen and grow your perspective. Following this path is much more rewarding than stewing for years and years about Obama, or Bush, or the Iraq war, or whatever else you might get upset about.