Listen outside your box.
So often we speak only from within our walls and from what we know to be true inside our own secluded world. Then we suffocate any ideas that try to penetrate from the outside before we actually consider them. We assign the new thing (thought, value, movement, etc.) a value from our own cemented thoughts, and then call it false or a lie before simply considering it with a different set of experiences and values. Just because we don’t share or have never had that same experience, we act as if it isn’t true or it doesn’t hold the same value as our own. We don’t bother to try it on, to do our best to stand even for a moment in the place of the other, or even get curious enough to ask learning questions. We run away from learning from it, refuse to look at it, and are quick to kick it out of our box and forget it. Many times we do our best to convince others to do the same. Some would call this ignorance, and maybe it is, but I think that’s too simple. I say it is fear, and essentially an absence of love.
What if our knee-jerk reaction to another’s experience was acceptance instead of rejection? That’s not to say that we should believe or buy into everything anyone says. Now that would be ignorance. But why should we automatically reject anything that is different from what we are used to either – that is different from our preformed assumptions? Fear causes it to be nearly impossible for us to have new ears with which to listen to someone or something that is different. We are afraid of change; we are afraid of looking wrong; and we are afraid that if we change our people won’t go with us. Even when we don’t agree with someone, rather than giving them the honor and the credibility that they deserve for having a different life experience, we ridicule and/or we sometimes bully and terrorize them. When really, it would be so easy just to recognize them (and quite frankly, less work) as another human being with a different set of life experiences. That would be love and acceptance – without fear.
Everything in this life is not linear, is not of black and white thinking, is not only what you see with your eyes, is not cut up into perfect increments to be served in a universal box. If you can’t see outside of your own box, if you can’t even imagine what it must be like in another box, this world is going to keep bouncing off the corners and we’re never going to get a smooth ride on it together.
I invite you, at least for today, to listen instead of thinking about your reply. I invite you, at least for today, to consider that another’s experiences are just as real and true as your own. I invite you, at least for today, to be fearless and loving with your listening.