The Anti Series- Can we differ and get along?

“True wisdom listens more, talks less, and can get along with all types of people.”
― Kiana Tom

 

Hey guys!!

Hope you have all been well as we approach a cold autumn and the end of the year.

It has been a very interesting couple of weeks on the world scene; my last post written on the day of the US election result really expressed my emotions towards the whole situation. It is safe to say I was devastated and disappointed. Over the past two weeks though, one thing I can say I have been truly grateful for is the conversations I have had with many people about it. I have been able to speak with people I agree with and people I completely disagree with and still come to a place of understanding and compassion. This got me thinking, is it possible, in the world we live in today, to disagree with someone and still manage to get along?

One thing that the recent political activities have shown us is that there is a geographical divide that deeply separates us across the world: urban vs rural. A great proportion of people whose voices you hear in the media (both classic and social) are people from cities, who have access to information easily and are influenced by a more liberal way of life. The other side looks a lot different and the question is, are those voices represented?

Another interesting dynamic is that of millennials. A recent study showed that although we are the most vocal about our opinions and views online, we are much less likely than previous generations to participate in the political process. In other words, there are a lot of words and not enough action. I think one of the factors that come into play here is that we hardly hear or experience opposing views so it seems like everyone we know is thinking the same way as us therefore everything is fine. No need to vote, because everyone is voting. Well people the ‘everyone’ is clearly non inclusive of people whose voices we do not encounter on our favourite social media platforms.

This week, I wanted to focus once again on the art of conversation. Not just speaking to people, but engaging with people with different views intentionally and with the perspective of being open to learn something. I hosted the very First Maximise your life dinner on Saturday night and it was better than I could have imagined. If you guys remember I opened this up to subscribers to sign up. Off the back of the election, I chose the topic ‘The Role of religion in society.’ I hosted 5 ladies, all very different. Not that this matters but we had different religious backgrounds represented, Christian and Muslim specifically and we spoke about religion and what role we all thought it should play. After a friendly ice-breaker and a crab and avocado starter, we began an intentional discussion which ultimately ended up allowing us all to share our experiences, fears, hopes and dreams for society. What was so beautiful is there was an opportunity for everyone to speak. By creating a safe environment, everyone has their defences down and hearts open to truly hear from one another and I can honestly say my life is richer for it.

What is my point? Our generation is so used to uniting on our similarities and I do not believe this is sustainable to producing any kind of workable society. We need to be able to address our differences in a healthy manner which fosters understanding and not opposition. I was able to think about issues from a different perspective! How refreshing!

If we are to move into a more connected and compassionate world, it will have to be facilitated by good old vulnerable conversations! So thank you very much Phoebe, Efua, Abiola, Toniola and Natasha for attending and for giving me lots to think about.

In rounding up the Anti-Series, let me challenge you to do the most counter intuitive thing ever: bond with someone different from you! Ask them questions, bearing in mind that it is not what you say, but how you say it that counts.

Share your experiences with me! Would love to hear from you 🙂

Have a good week!

All my love,

Seun

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