The United States of Diversity
“The combination of two different ways of thinking can lead to a synthesis that enriches both. The unity that we seek is not uniformity, but rather a unity in diversity.” – excerpt from the Joy of Love by Pope Francis
I keep hearing and reading articles that talk about how we are so divided in this nation. I have had a few experiences lately that have led me to believe that perhaps the way to more unity in the United States is more listening and peaceful argument, rather than the violent argument and name calling we often see on social media.
I have two recent examples that led me to such a conclusion.
One, I work with a woman in the office next to me who is very liberal. I am much more conservative and we tend to disagree on many policies on the best way forward in this country. However, I noticed that we actually need each other to have a broader perspective. As an example, I need her to remind me that we should be good stewards of our resources and our environment, especially as we continue to expand and grow. She needs me to remind her that all corporations aren’t evil and that the wealth generated by corporations does a lot of good and is used by the government to fund many programs she supports.
The second example is debates I have been engaged in on Facebook over the topic of abortion. I have been engaged in some serious conversations and arguments around a very sensitive topic. I have learned a great deal from both sides and my perspective on the issue has greatly broadened. I haven’t changed my position, but I have come to a greater understanding of why people fall on both sides of the debate.
This all brought me back to my coaching. One of my favorite things to do in a coaching relationship is to ask a question that makes the person completely stop and take inventory. A question that is so powerful it forces them to broaden their perspective to achieve new outcomes. A question so powerful that it makes me take stock and think about things in a new way. During this whole process, I am also intently listening to them so that they feel heard and understood. This is the piece that is missing in many of our arguments today. We aren’t really listening and asking probing questions to each other. Instead, many (including me) are simply posting opinions and making broad assumptions about others.
Perhaps what we need to unite this nation is to engage in more uncomfortable conversations. Perhaps what we need is to engage with more content and people that challenge us, rather than only engaging with those that already hold our biases. Perhaps what we need is a diverse set of patterns stitched into a fabric that is complex in individual parts, but when stitched together weaves a tapestry of beautiful design with a singular purpose. A purpose that seeks more unity. A unity that seeks more diversity. A United States of diversity.
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And remember to make the blessing choice and transform your burdens into blessings!