We have our own way of seeing things and we tend to associate with others like us. Birds of a feather. While this is only natural, it’s also limiting. The world is made up of many different fascinating people that we miss when we don’t take the time to know them.
Of course, we feel at home in our own neighborhood. It’s what we know and we’re surrounded by people like us. We have our disagreements, but we also give each other the benefit of the doubt.
And, to be sure, it’s good to know and have strong connections with our people – our tribe.
But it takes large doses of humility to also remember our way is not the only way.
It’s very easy to become blinded to our own perspectives and look down on others who are different. In our pride we no longer give those who are different the benefit of the doubt and tend to assume the worst.
And very likely we’re on the receiving end of their contempt as well.
In the end, everyone stays in their own circle holding tightly to their own suspicion and distrust of the other. And maybe, at best, merely tolerating each other.
To bridge the divide we must have the courage to enter the world of the other and try to see things from their point of view – truly listening and giving them the benefit of the doubt.
This does not mean we will agree on everything. But it does mean we will respect and honor each other’s stories.
Nor does it mean we must give up our old neighborhood and the culture we are fond of. We can still cherish the values of our tribe while also affirming what’s important to others.
Bridging the divide allows us to find our common ground. Despite our many differences we can build on our mutual desires for love, respect, and the freedom to live peaceable lives marked by dignity.
Don’t stay stuck in your own limited perspectives. Take that courageous first step to bridge the divide with those who are different.