Thomas Carlye once said “Every man is my superior in that I may learn from him.” Many spiritual traditions teach that all lives have equal value, or that all are children of God, or have a divine spark or divine self within. I think we all buy into that at some level. Why, then, don’t we act like it?
I’ve been frustrated lately by seeing this in myself and others around me. We never exchange more than pleasantries with our bosses. We treat children like they’re either a nuisance or an accessory and not much else, and assume old people are irrelevant and senile, tourists are clueless, and teenagers are self-important airheads. We treat terminally ill people like they’re made of glass.
If you’re an introvert, it’s especially easy to stay in a little bubble, assuming that others don’t want to hear from you or you don’t have anything to say that would interest them. But all we accomplish by staying in little bubbles is to make our lives smaller, to learn less and to offer less of our awesome to the world.
In December, I’m challenging myself to have a meaningful conversation with someone I normally wouldn’t have a meaningful conversation with, without awkwardness, stereotypes, or judgment. My only objective will be to learn something.
Interested in joining the December Conversation Challenge? Have a real conversation with someone new; could be:
- A very old person
- A very young person
- Someone much senior to you or someone you admire, such as a boss or a celebrity.
- A person marginalized or judged by society–a homeless person, a person convicted of a crime, or a person affected by addiction.
- A person whose choices or values you disagree with or are uncomfortable with.
- A person you don’t like
- A random stranger on the bus
- A neighbor you’ve exchanged nothing more than pleasantries with for years.
- A terminally ill person
- A person you’ve judged (as closed-minded, stupid, an ass) recently.
- A person from a different country or culture.
Write about your conversation challenge experiment by December 302h & email me your story or link to your blog story at ladypantsdance (at) gmail (dot) com.