Loosening Up Our Opinions
There's an idea that's been on the margins of my thinking, but is more and more coming to the center:
What if we entered each conversation with a willingness to let it change our minds?
Put another way: Could we risk our ego in the name of our growth?
As I see it, my strongest opinions - on politics, people, health, happiness - are also my most fixed opinions. And they are fixed in my ego. Because I am right about them. Undeniably right.
And when I'm undeniably right, no other perspective can be right. Just wrong. Which means I'll enter conversations armored up, certain and sure.
But certainty and sureness are rarely conducive to growth.
I'm not suggesting that we immediately go have a five-course meal with someone who is day to our night. I think we need to ease ourselves into this.
Start with low stakes subjects - the best place for pad thai in town, the fastest shortcut to the highway. And in these low stakes moments, we can experiment:
Be willing to pause, instead of acting on that surging urge to roar our opinion.
Rather than cut someone off and say, "That's not true. Here are 42 reasons why," try waiting until she's done, then offering, "That's interesting. Can you say more?"
In other words, the question I'm asking myself is can I act less from rightness and defensiveness and more from empathy and curiosity, two catalysts for growth and real human connection.
The answer is yes. I can. Any of us can. Perhaps not gracefully or easily. But we still can. And, in fact, I think we are called to.
We are not frozen or stuck creatures. Our bodies need to grow and change to stay healthy. So, too, do our minds. And one place to begin is by loosening our grip on our ego's opinions and firming up our heart's commitment to expansion.