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We all do it. We create a bubble of sorts. Something familiar. Something comfortable. Something that looks like us. And we live in it.

We don’t go outside that bubble unless we have to. And we have strong reactions when someone tries to break through our fragile layer of familiarity. 

I think we see evidence of this on the daily from people who so vehemently reject others and their opinions without truly trying to understand their intentions or their background. 

It’s so much easier to just skim what we want to believe about others off the surface and never delve deeper into what actually matters, like their humanity.

It takes some practice, and some patience, and some willingness to step outside that carefully designed bubble, if we are ever to grow as human beings. But that’s the problem. A lot of people don’t want to grow. They just want to eliminate any need for discomfort in their thinking.

People can be brought together by a common enemy, or a common good. The key word, there, is common. Mutual. Similar. Shared.

We do not have to agree on all things. We do not even have to agree on many things. But, if (1) the people in the bubbles would look for those commonalities instead of their differences, and (2) resist exhausting their energy pointing out why the other is supposedly wrong, when worlds collided, it would make for beautiful results. 

There is nothing more moving than a heart that has been changed. And, despite all the negativity around us, and the vitriol that consumes the interwebs, and the mistaken concept that people never change – people can. And do. 

Our hearts are pliable, our minds flexible, capable of shifting and acceptance and understanding. The potential is there. But most people only embrace that if they have to. 

I do not pretend to not have my own bubble. My own prejudices. My own wishes for people to conform to my ideas of right. Sometimes my “right” is wrong. And sometimes my “right” is right – but it takes some significant event for others to understand it and come around. 

When that happens, sometimes the impulse is very selfish, and strong, within me to say, “Oh NOW you care? Where were you when my heart was broken over this?” My human, vindictive nature kicks in and I want people to feel the hurt that I felt. I want to, as Sally Field said in Steel Magnolias:

I just want to hit something. I want to hit it hard! I want to hit something until it feels as bad as I do.

But if we’ve grown, if we’ve let any of our experiences actually shape us for the better, we’ll acknowledge those desires for what they are – human, but petty – and we’ll get in with the business of making strides in the right direction. 

Some people will never give you an apology. And, while that would be nice, it’s not necessary. It’s often said that the best apology is changed behavior. And it’s true. 

Patience with others unlike ourselves is never easy. But living in a bubble isn’t really living. You’d be surprised at the beauty around you if you’d step outside that place of familiarity. It might be painful at times, but growth usually requires some pain. It’s called “dying to self”. And that is, in my opinion, the only way to really live.

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