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The Value In Disagreeing

The art of disagreeing has never been my strong suit, but as I age, I've realized the value of respectfully disagreeing is at an all-time high. In a world dominated by curated social lives dictated by our biases and algorithms, it’s essential to actively seek out people who differ from us. Our social circles often become echo chambers, reinforcing our own ideas and values without challenge. This isn't inherently bad, but it limits our ability to empathize with those who hold opposing beliefs.

Recently, I attended a dinner party with friends from diverse backgrounds, professions, and socioeconomic statuses. After some wine and excellent food, a debate about politics ensued. I observed as passions flared and some took offense at others' views. We disagreed on many points, including who to vote for in the upcoming election. The emotional intensity was palpable, but I appreciated the disagreement. It confirmed that I had cultivated a community rich in diverse perspectives.

This discourse forced me and others, I believe, to consider opposing viewpoints from a place of love and understanding—a rarity in our curated online communities, where it's too easy to dismiss differing beliefs as wrong or bad. In person, when you know and care about someone, you're more likely to listen with empathy. You learn that it's possible to agree to disagree and still remain friends.

In today's society, making friends from different races, belief systems, and sexual orientations can give us a more well-rounded view of the world. If we listened to each other to understand rather than to change minds, our planet would be a better place. Let’s learn to disagree without canceling or belittling each other. One day, we might all find ourselves on the "wrong" side of culture. Since perspectives can fall out of favor, it behooves us to listen with intention and respect.



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