This one seems kind of obvious, right? Have any of us known a loving person that is consistently irritable or easily angered? Love and irritation don’t really go hand in hand. Yet they aren’t quite each other’s archenemies either. All of us can be loving in lots of moments but also step into irritation from time to time, for instance when we become impatient. But what about the irritation that comes from misunderstanding?
Misunderstanding may be one of the biggest causes of divisiveness within our society. When we don’t understand something or we may not prefer one’s opinion, we judge it as wrong and at times take personal offense to it. We most commonly see this in the political arena, race issues, religious beliefs, our legal system, the laws coming to pass as well as in simple differences in our mannerisms or cultures. It’s where we have a clash of beliefs, perceptions or values.
Becoming irritated and offended not only takes the stage from love, but it creates a gap between us and other people. How can we be loving when we are busy being irritated with someone for having different beliefs and experiences? How can we create a relationship with someone we judge as wrong? How can we see the value in others that are different than us if we don’t value those differences? This lack of understanding truly keeps us small and it keeps us from extending love to others.
In our world, we are always going to come across people that are different from us. Rather than misunderstanding or taking offense, what if we celebrated their uniqueness? God created those that are our opposites. He gave us a world of billions of people with differing experiences and beliefs. We can learn from each other. We can cherish each other. We can love each other. What would our communities look like if we were inquisitive rather than judgmental? What would our interactions feel like if we asked someone what makes them think the way they do rather than exchanging cold interactions? What if we took the emphasis away from how things affect ‘me’ and put it on what ‘we’ could create something together by understanding one another?
When we have these clashes, what everyone truly wants is to be happy, to be heard and to be valued regardless if the issue at hand is deemed right or wrong. If we truly want to be loving and create a kind world, our job isn’t to be defensive in our values, it is to be understanding of another’s. It is to operate throughout our days with empathy, compassion and love.
Change yourself, change your life and you will change the world. To receive this week’s self-studies Love Is Not Irritable, follow Verge of Greatness on Instagram @v.of.g.