We have hundreds of TV channels to choose from. Time limits how many we can watch. Our interests limit how many keep us satisfied enough to keep watching. The funny thing is while we only regularly watch a handful of channels, all seem to exist for many years. For this to occur, there must be many people who watch every channel that we do not.
What’s interesting about this observation is that we don’t spend a lot of time thinking how others are different than we are. In fact, we get upset, when people don’t act the way we think they should. Why is that? Because we think everyone should be like us.
Spend a half an hour watching a TV channel you have never watched. It will feel uncomfortable. Most likely you will tune it out because it doesn’t interest you.
Now substitute this example with spending a half an hour with a person you have never talked to nor has the same interests as you do. It will feel uncomfortable as well. But instead of tuning out, we become quiet, shy, and afraid to talk because we believe we have little in common.
The TV program, we tuned out, was so different. It’s ok to do this with a TV program. It’s not so ok to do this with other people who we perceive to be different. In fact when we meet someone different and don’t try to talk or connect with the other person we lose. We hurt ourselves in the long run.
There is so much we can learn from others who at first may be strangers who appear to be so different. Surprisingly, after our first hello, we will find that we have things in common the more we explore through conversation. Something might resonate in our hearts, confirming what we believe to be true making our connection stronger.
Other times, we will hear things that creates conflict in our hearts. Ideas, points of view, and assertions that don’t match our worldview. We instinctively push back to save ourselves from the doubt that is created in the moment.
Herein lies the fight within us that we must embrace to grow. To do the hard work to step back and review what we heard that was so different. To seek out and learn more about this other view and the depth of the differences we heard. To question whether our understanding or perspective needs to evolve or change.
We must accept the uniqueness and value each stranger brings into our lives (whether we agree with them or not). The beauty of this new connection should result in the entanglement of a thread, from the differences we heard, making the fabric of who we are much brighter, deeper, and stronger to move one to both use and share with the next stranger that we meet.
Each of our lives are like a TV channel we cycle through. All relevant and of value to some. Worthy of connection by many. Creating value in our lives by capturing our attention for a brief moment. Providing a fertile ground to better understand how we are both different giving us the opportunity to learn more about who we are.
To respect and value the uniqueness of the stranger and the opportunity they provide us to expand & deepen our experiences through all the days of our life.