It's fairly common place these days to hear people refer to hanging out with, associating with like-minded people. It's become rather cliche. You've probably heard the saying, "Birds of a feather flock together."
It’s easier to have conversations with groups of people who have similar experiences as us, are of the same sex or race, or political persuasion, and who ultimately think like we do. ‘Like-mindedness’ means that we think alike, believe alike, and typically share similar habits and way of life.
Bill Bishop, author of The Big Sort, says "We have geographically, politically, and even spiritually sorted ourselves into like-minded groups in which we silence dissent, grow more extreme in our thinking, and consume only facts that support our beliefs. As a result, we now live in a giant feedback loop, hearing our own thoughts about what’s right and wrong bounced back to us by the television shows we watch, the newspapers and books we read, the blogs we visit online, the sermons we hear, and the neighborhoods we live in." This sorting leads us to make assumptions about the people around us, which in turn fuels disconnection. These like-minded groups also tend to make more extreme decisions than the individual typically would.
As I mentioned in my blog post a few weeks ago, this sorting into like-minded groups has caused an epidemic of loneliness. It is not the truth of our being to write off a group of people because they do not sound like us, do not think like us, do not have the same life experiences as us. We know this to be true if we are listening to our heart. I don't believe that we are called on to simply be with those who think the same way we do.
I would like to propose an alternative. How about if instead we associate with like-hearted people? Like-hearted people desire the same things, they want the same things out of life. As Francis David said way back in the 1500's, "You need not think alike to love alike."
In the end, the truth of our being is that we are all like-hearted. I believe that ultimately we all desire the same things. We all want to be loved, to be connected, to be accepted. We all want to be happy and healthy and want the same for our family and friends.
Brene Brown proposes in her book, Braving The Wilderness, "We are going to need to intentionally be with people who are different from us. We're going to have to sign up, join, and take a seat at the table. We're going to have to learn how to listen, have hard conversations, look for joy, share pain, and be more curious than defensive, all while seeking moments of togetherness."
I invite us all to go out of the comfort zone and engage not only with like-minded people, but also with like-hearted people. I invite us to take a seat at the table and work toward intentionally connecting and engaging with people who think differently than we do. Have hard conversation, share joy and pain, share stories, be curious. I would love to hear about your experience!