I came upon a quote from artist, author and photographer, Doe Zantamata, which truly made me pause and think:
"It's easy to judge. It's more difficult to understand. Understanding requires compassion, patience, and a willingness to believe that good hearts sometimes choose poor methods. Through judging, we separate. Through understanding, we grow."
I'm not sure I've seen it clearer than this: judging separates; understanding helps us grow. I hope you notice that nothing in this tells us to agree blindly with someone or adopt their opinion or accept their point of view. What it does is challenge us to honor where they stand and recognize how they feel. And if it makes you feel better, perhaps you, too, quickly think of the quote by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts."
Richard Rohr continually writes about the sad need for the small mind to lump people into categories, separating those who think one way away from "my" group. What this does is encamp ideologies of right and wrong so that "those-over-there" will only be acceptable once they agree with my position and take my side. This is the small mind.
The broad mind allows space to listen and learn, disagree when that's appropriate, but never demean, dismiss or disassociate.
I've got a long way to go, but I find teachers (and classrooms) everywhere. Anyone else feel this way? I always welcome your comments, criticisms or kudos at email@example.com.
More wisdom from Doe Zantamata:
You cannot convince someone to see something that they do not want to see, no matter how much you know it would improve their lives. You have to love and accept them exactly as they are today. If you cannot do that, you have to let them go and find their own way, in their own time, if they ever choose to do so. Otherwise, you'll be giving them the power over your happiness, too.
Your intuition is the most honest friend that you will ever have.
Your inner spark never dies. Quiet your mind enough to feel it again. Once you do, it will begin to ignite.
Sometimes people confuse self-love with big ego. The two are totally different. A person with a big ego thinks they are better than others. A person who loves him or herself doesn't think they are better or worse than others. Comparing is useless, as we all have strengths and weaknesses. Focusing on one or the other is not the whole picture. If you love yourself, you know you are worthy of love, of good things in life, and that you are capable of unlimited great things. You will inspire others to realize the same about themselves as well.