Living with Opposites

We live in a colorful world filled with endless possibilities and a smorgasbord of variety. It seems just when we are embracing and enjoying the luscious harmonies that have been given to us, some people or institutions want to pigeonhole us into a black or white existence.

Not only can great diversity live in the same world or even community, it can often live within the same person. It is possible to be brilliant and ignorant. It is possible to believe in God and science. It is possible to be a feminist while respecting and loving men. It is possible to have privilege and be discriminated against. It is possible to be poor and have a rich life. It is possible to not have a job and still have plenty of money. It is possible to be against war but in favor of a strong military. It is possible to love your neighbor but disagree with or even despise their actions. It is possible to be uneducated but wise and brilliant. It is possible to be disabled and powerful. It is possible to be mainstream and unique. It is possible to be alone in a crowd. It is possible to be different and the same.

I believe there are as many combinations of attitudes, opinions, and perspectives as there are people who inhabit our planet. We cannot assume that a person who carries one identity, even if that identity is accurate, has any other characteristics we can infer from that single label. I find that some of the most successful and accomplished people in the world are a walking paradox. I know great athletes who are world-class poets. I know renowned artists who are great hunters. I know heroic, decorated soldiers who go out of their way to avoid conflicts or even debates. I know devout clergy who learn from elements of other people’s faith.

Often, the best friends, business colleagues, or spouses are those that hold vastly different opinions or perspectives. These relationships may flourish not in spite of the differences but because of the differences. We appreciate variety and a myriad of choices on a restaurant menu, a book shelf, a shopping mall, or a TV guide, but unfortunately, too many of us surround ourselves with people who are carbon copies of ourselves. If you want your world to be larger or more interesting, meet new people who are vastly different from you, then explore and celebrate the variety and how it can expand your mind and your soul.

As you go through your day today, celebrate how differences can come together to create a masterpiece.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by email at Jim@JimStovall.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimstovallauthor; or follow Jim on Twitter @StovallAuthor.

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