Change requires listening with same level of passion that we feel when we speak. Harriet Lerner
Recently I was chatting with Sharon about how a satisfying friendship of hers had turned sour.
We had lots in common and the relationship filled the holes in my marriage that only girlfriends can do, she explained. I looked forward to years of sharing. We went to lunch together, visited museums, talked about books we read and our grandchildren. We even went to the gym and worked out.
But¦ and as her voice stumbled, she took a big sigh. Her politics were different. So I cut the friendship off.
I was flabbergasted and wanted to grab this person by her shoulders to shake some sense into her. Who has so many gratifying friendships that we can easily toss one overboard because the person holds a different opinion?
It wasn’t like this other woman was a child molester, had embezzled funds from her employer to cause bankruptcy or had a cocaine addiction. Sharon dumped her friend because she held a different point of view.
And apparently, that was just over the top for Sharon’s relationship requirements.
If friendship is defined only in parameters where we must agree on everything, where is the growth? How does our world open up so we learn something new? Would Sharon feel as smug about her decision to let the relationship go if the person involved were a different religion or a different race?
It’s my opinion that authentic relationships involve having genuine conversations. That takes both risk taking and the willingness to be vulnerable. We must feel safe enough with another to put ourselves out there and be willing to be wrong; to feel secure – yet free enough – to say I don’t know how I feel about that and to change our minds if new facts come to light.
What is love if not offering a holding place for another to express what’s in their heart?
You can be yourself with me. I may not agree or understand, but I choose to listen to what you have to say because you matter. We matter.
You know, listening with passion.
Of course, you may hold a different opinion.
And I respect that.
Editor’s Note: Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website http://RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.