I decided to take a last minute escape to a small community called Pine Mountain. How proper since the entire landscape was pine! Nature's medicine. :)
Being bathed in cool, breezy, pine filled air, after a couple of days hiking, climbing rocks, and other shenanigans a few of us got on the topic of self-respect. Wowzers! What a collaboration of thought we had whipped up. From politics, personal relationships, family life issues, no matter what road we decided to embark upon, (heated with differing opinions between five different backgrounds), there was this one strange sentiment that cropped up each and every time we found resolution. Self respect. Now, I'm not necessarily talking about Aretha style R-E-S-P-E-C-T, but more of a compassion a la mind over matter sort of thing. Sounds weird, right? Hold on....
Where I have been pulled into or willing participated in a debate, this thing, this notion of opposition always came back to a feeling of my own self-respect. This feeling extended to the other person; not out of friendship or not wanting to rock the boat, but more for learning purposes always feels gratifying. Another door opens! You could see the heat rise in the varying opinions, but then as understanding took place it was more of a warm bath. I realized once again, it takes folks to step back, far back sometimes, to pull you out of a comfort zone, re-frame your position and see how it sits with your innards/spirit. I'm not talking about empathy...try to see it more from a virtuous point of view. The word "empathy" seems to be on the rise with more of what I consider blame culture, I'll leave that word for trending articles from the Huffington Post. It's a shame when the purest form of expression gets diluted or steered towards the wrong direction, but that's what seems to be happening right now.
Anyway, back to my observation of unconformable mixed with compassion, something tied back to the essence of the speaker as they came to a sense of self-respect, which then was extended to the opposed opinion. And maybe that is the 1 thing. Now matter how bad something can tweak your melon about someone's beliefs, if this 1 thing can cause another perspective and shift, not only have your learned tolerance but you also have allowed mutual flow to exist. This was definitely not the case of agree to disagree. I feel that mindset has kept us from growth over the past 40 years or so. Maybe I'll never be able to completely articulate that 1 thing, but I know my heart was thrilled to be witness as I have great heart's with me while traveling this wonderful planet.