Drawing a line in the sand to move on and past a problem is always challenging, whatever the reasons. For instance, I have opinions that aren’t shared by everyone and I understand that, but what concerns me is how quickly we dismiss so many other people and views which are different to ours with little thought as to their perspective.
I have people in my life whose beliefs contradict my own. There are others whose knowledge of me and my values fails to encompass anything that I hold sacred or I feel important. And yet they remain in my life. It may be because of history, family ties, work relationships or something else entirely. It would be easier on many levels to judge, dismiss, or walk away rather than to stay and work through the intense feelings that come with potentially heated differences. But the universe has such love for our souls to grow that it encourages all of us to work through these feelings; to build tolerance muscles, give people a chance, entertain new perspectives, and learn to be gracious and open-minded despite our initial reactions.
Cheryl Richardson (lifestyle coach and author) tells a story that in 2016, during one of her retreats, a young woman stood up and asked how to deal with a friend who had different political views. She loved her friend and yet felt conflicted about how to make their relationship work. Cheryl’s advice was this, “I do my best to remember my humanity. If someone in this room walked toward me and tripped and fell, I would never ask about their political views before I helped them up. My instinct would be to jump in and help.”
So, can relationships last when there are conflicting values? Are we supposed to stay connected when our views and opinions can become so polarized? Honestly, I don’t have the answers. But what I do know is this: How I respond to a close friend in crisis who holds different views to mine, tells me a lot about the importance of the relationship beyond any differences that we may hold. Drawing a line in the sand allows us to move away from the past and into a new space of possible similarities.