He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper. Edmund Burke
Opinions are abundant. Given room, but some necessary boundary, opinions help shape a road worth traveling. Listening, if we consciously take the time, is an important skill to mediate the environment. Without it, we can fall victim to a result we have no desire to create.
We are conditioned to our need to be right, but we must be careful that being right does not strip away our ability to understand another. Equally true we must guard against the “right” that believes my way is the highway. People want someone who hears us, but they also want someone who balances that hearing with the wisdom of other voices.
We don’t always know what is best for all, but openness can help guide our awareness of a challenge in our midst. It also helps us find that our so-called opponent is a blessing in disguise. The opinionated personality who makes us uneasy and anxious can be actually a friend. They put us on alert to a point of view we neglected to previously consider. Pay attention, the point of view tells us. I have voice, I have thought, I need to be heard. Did we not consider them in our haste to embrace our own opinions?
As Edmund Burke says, our antagonist is our helper. At first consideration, this may be hard to entertain. Yet it is a powerful consideration that left unattended surely results in an outcome we cannot afford to ignore.
Consider the weed. Without it, we might not know its opposite, the so-called beauty that makes the weed seem an ugly duckling, or simply plain. Stated otherwise, the flower and its beauty is only made known by its contrast to something that we think needs better definition. In this context, the weed has its own place in the scheme of things. A place of honor we should heed carefully.
I have no ready answer to why we must struggle with each other. Sometimes I would like to run away and not deal with the anxiety struggle presents. I realize, however, that sometimes I get in the way of that struggle, making it harder for truth to find its way. Stepping aside has a place as does joining the fray. It tells us: Don’t give up and do give in. Flexibility and openness become forces of new beginnings.