A reader once linked one of my posts to her blog and added the words: “I don’t agree with all her ideas, but I like this one.”
Someone liked my post! I smiled. But a small part of me thought, “What’s wrong with some of my other ideas?” I wanted the reader to agree with everything I have to say. Is that just a natural reaction? Have you ever felt that way? Maybe most of us want our opinions to be accepted by others.
It feels good when we’re exactly in tune with someone else. We don’t have to explain ourselves because we understand each other. We know we’re not going to have any disagreements so we can relax. We can talk about anything and everything without the fear we might reveal too much about ourselves. We’re kindred spirits. These type of friendships are very special.
But not everyone in our lives has to be a kindred spirit friend. I think we also need people who are different from ourselves.
When I’m willing to look at the world through their eyes, I learn a lot from people who aren’t like me. I ponder new ideas. I hear about new things. Sometimes I even give up my own opinion in favour of someone else’s. But even if I don’t, my life is enriched and I always grow.
In my last podcast, Do My Unschoolers Mind Being Different?, my 14-year-old daughter Sophie said that because she’s different from those around her, she’s inclined to look for differences in other people. Even when teenagers are trying to be the same so they will fit into the crowd, she searches out the special qualities that make those people unique. Her words gave me much to think about.
If someone is different from ourselves, we shouldn’t be quick to dismiss them as a person we don’t want to know, someone we can’t be friends with, someone we can’t learn from. On the contrary, our eyes should light up, our ears should turn towards that person. Who knows what we will see and hear that may enrich our lives?
Is it necessary you agree with all my ideas? Oh no! We don’t have to be totally in tune. We can share and ponder and grow because of our differences. We can still be friends.
Life wouldn’t be as interesting if we were all the same, would it?
Isn’t the different sheep always the more interesting?