My head drew back a little as the comb pulled through my hair. My hairdresser was combing through the curls before trimming as she shared with me about her and her best friend. They had just become estranged following a conversation they had discovering their varied opinions about what’s happening in the world right now.
Hearing this, I felt a heaviness in my heart. They’d been close friends for years she said. Was there maybe unspoken tension already there between them, and this was a good excuse to pull away? I wondered. Or did they each feel so strong about their differing perspectives that it impacted their caring for each other?
“I don’t know if our friendship is ever going to recover from this,” she said.
Our opinions are our judgments and perspectives about something. It’s the narrative we craft about what we decide is true. We all create perspectives about the world. This is how we attempt to understand things. It’s the process of how the brain develops. As a human we see the world through the perspectives we define. This creates our reality and our opinions.
When we become friends with someone, often it’s because we have enough shared perspectives that we feel a “kinship” to be together.
Opinions are part of our “thinking” world. When our opinions are strong, we can get stuck in our head and become defensive.
Haven’t you ever been defensive with someone you cared about, justifying your opinion about something, determined about how right you were? Only to realise that what really mattered was how you felt about them?
I know I have.
Now, I’m not saying we should all love everybody and live happily ever after.
No. We need diversity. We need different opinions. It is what makes us think and expands our own truth about life.
Shortly after my visit with my hairdresser, I found myself in a conversation with a very dear and close friend of mine, venturing out with my opinions about the world’s events. Over the years, she and I had had so many deep conversations about the meaning of life that I assumed she’d be on the same page as me. But she wasn’t. She wasn’t even in the same book!
As our conversation took this unexpected turn, my heart beat quickened and fear rose in my chest. My mind flashed back to my hairdresser’s conversation with her friend. Now it was mine.
What was I afraid of? An argument? The friendship ending?
I paused before responding. I was acutely aware the conversation could go many ways. If I stay in my head, we’ll each end up being defensive and justifying and further apart. I knew that path. I could just apologize and regret I said anything and then retreat and change the subject. I’d done that before and it didn’t feel right to do that this time. But I didn’t know the answer here either.
Not knowing what to do, I asked a question, “How can we hold each other in our varied “truths” and still feel love for one another?”
As her and I tenderly navigated this conversation, without turning our backs on each other, without confronting each other, and instead, each of us still holding our ground, we kept eye contact and heart connection, and listened to each other. I realised, she had done just as much research as I had done in order to come to her conclusions. Her life experience, that she brought to her perspectives, was just as valid as my life experience which had influenced my point of view.
I began to see that there was more than one truth here. Maybe there were even truths in things I thought were wrong! Maybe there are many “truths.” I found my “truth” expanding.
We don’t all have to have the same opinion or believe the same thing or think the same way. I know, when I was having arguments with my ex-husband, I used to think, “If only you thought like me, things would go better,” and I honestly believed that was true at the time! But that was really so things would be easier for me.
Thinking that everyone should see things from only one perspective is like looking at a rock and saying that it only has one side because we can only see one side. A rock has so many sides, as you know, and just because we can’t see all the sides, doesn’t mean they are not there. Why do we think other people have to think the same way as we do and only see that one side?
We only have to look to the past to see horrendous activities inflicted upon others to force indoctrination to the same religious or political beliefs.
We don’t have to think the same way.
The question then becomes, how do we hold such diversity inside ourselves without fearing we now have to believe what others believe? But are we willing for the possibility of having “our truth” expanded? How can stay in our heart, feel love for the other and not push them away because we think differently? How can we have a conversation beyond opinion, a conversation that maintains connection or even strengthens it?
I don’t have the answer, but I think we’ll find it together.
I think the answer is right here, with us. It’s time to have more conversations for connection, that involve both the head AND the heart. Maybe this is the way for the future…
Love to know your thoughts and feelings on this.
Love Leanne xo