When we move left and right in our political thought, we saw through the foundation of our thoughts. Rather than moving left or right, I’m moving upward and outward. I am expanding my understanding rather than limiting myself to a linear, one-dimensional perception of political complexities.
If we are strong in our core and have strong political and other beliefs as many of us do, we can maintain our position while expanding our view. We may not shift in what we believe, but we can increase our field of vision and understanding by allowing alternative ideas to enter our frame.
Learning can be scary because it inherently implies detachment from currently held beliefs and understandings. It can be a threat to our individual or group identity.
Alternatively, I see learning as an opportunity to grow. While we may choose to shift our position as a result of something we have learned, learning can also result in having a more expansive view or increased flexibility to shift our perspective. We can do both while remaining still in the same spot, in the safety of our core values and purpose.
Accepting someone for who they are does not take away from who I am. In fact, it makes me more of who I am. In addition, I do not feel that I have the right to tell another human being who they are or ought to be as they do not have the right to impose their beliefs and ways on me.
Unfortunately, we do not always understand or remember that we have the opportunity at every moment to become and be our true, authentic selves. We become lost as our experience leads us down paths that are rigid or gilded. The sunlight above us casts shadows that temporarily eclipse our view. We find ourselves in unknown, undesired places and don’t know how we got there.
In my work in the fields of human services and education, I was often offended by colleagues who attempted to change the values, beliefs, and behaviors of people served. I think the best way we can support people is to help them reconnect with their true miraculous selves, rather than imposing our limited beliefs on them. Perhaps we can even learn from them.