For those of us with passionate political and cultural beliefs, it’s a tough time to be on social media. Do we engage with people whose minds are made up already? Can we initiate a civil, respectful discussion without getting our blood pressure up? And most of all, how do we resolve the cognitive dissonance of seeing people we love expressing opinions that seem uninformed or unfair?
The contentiousness I see on my online feeds has me thinking about unconditional love.
Love without conditions doesn’t mean I love a friend despite their beliefs, or that I love them even though I think they’re wrong, or that I love them aside from our differences. All of those statements involve a judgment – saying that “I love most parts of you, aside from these flaws that I find unlovable.”
That’s the way we do it as humans. We draw circles that shut things out.
Can we learn to draw circles that embrace the whole person? I think that’s the challenge.
I’m recalling a poem by Edwin Markham (which I also knew as a camp song in my younger years):
He drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout
But love and I had the wit to win
We drew a circle that took him in
I’m struggling with this – loving without judgment, without excluding certain aspects of a person that I find “unlovable.” I don’t know how to do it yet. But I do know that this is something I should strive for.
I know that parts of me are hard to love, and I treasure those who are able to draw a circle around me anyway.
Winnie and the Professor