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A battle cry for our times.

How do you respond to those with differing views than yours?

As conversations become more polarized and almost every topic broached feels politically charged, how do you choose to listen, endeavor to understand, curiously question, strive to empathize and move to authentically connect with someone whose views, beliefs and politics appear to be different from yours?

As a society, we are choosing to self-isolate. And this began long before a global pandemic.

Most of us live near, worship with and socialize among individuals who are similar to us.

We tune into our favorite news outlets, read from our favorite papers and visit our favorite sites to learn about current events. Because the mainstream media unabashedly have claimed sides, their perspective just confirms and reiterates a belief system which we already possess.

And it happens story after story, article after article, day after day…

Then, because of the algorithms that serve us content on Google and social media, we view commercials, content and opinions that back up everything we already believed. Our perspective is reinforced. We become certain we’re on the right side; that the other side is out of touch, totally wrong or simply evil.

So, it’s no surprise when someone on social media has the audacity to form a differing opinion, we simply cancel them, right?

But is it right? 

My friends, we are in an era lacking dialogue, a willingness to truly understand, or a desire to seeks to come together.

[It is amazing, though, what can happen when we have the meaningful conversation. A man from Minneapolis witnessed firsthand the power of lowering our guard, uncrossing our arms, and taking the time to authentically connect. Journalist Mike Max shared what it was like to witness a bond form between a police officer and a protestor. Hear Mike’s story on my Live Inspired Podcast + spark hope that we can indeed come together.]

 

Relationships are messy.

They’re wildly difficult and complicated in a family and exponentially more complex in a nation of 331 million with differing origin stories, experiences and dreams.

As a nation we are wrestling with the dichotomy of the remarkable greatness and tragic mistakes of our past. We are trying to make sense of the extraordinary advances and enduring injustices of our present. We are still imagining the limitless possibilities that remain achievable in our future.

And yet, we must first listen, learn and come together.

Let’s seek opinions that differ from those we tune into habitually. Let’s build relationships with individuals whom we may disagree… listen to their perspective and ask clarifying questions before sharing our perspective.

To remember to listen not to reply, but to hear what’s behind the words.

In doing so, it’s possible you’ll radically change someone else’s opinion on some of the profoundly important topics of the day. It’s even possible, from time to time, that the opinion changed will be yours.

This is your day. Live Inspired.

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.