Shields and Doorways

No, I will never understand your story at the level you do, for no one really knows you the way you do, but the truth of the matter is that you will never understand mine either. And there is nothing wrong with not fully understanding, but what troubles me about this is that people have decided to use that lack of understanding as a shield rather than what it should be- a doorway. A shield blocks people from getting to you, but it also keeps you from reaching them. Sure, you keep from getting hurt as much that way, but you also keep love, compassion, and support out.

On the other hand, a doorway opens from both sides allowing each side to cross over and provide an opportunity to learn. Rather than letting a lack of understanding divide us, it should be bringing us together under an umbrella of greater compassion- recognizing that in fact no one understands anyone else’s story on the same level, something we then all have in common. In that, there is an understanding of its own and it grows from being “your” story and “my” story, to OUR story. The reality is that I don’t have to understand your story. You don’t have to understand mine. What we do have to do is be willing to hear each other. Be willing to keep an open mind and be willing to learn from our stories. Through that respect we enact change and together we grow.

I am not perfect at this. I often keep people at arm’s reach, struggling to let them in, but it’s something that I am continually working on- learning how to be vulnerable and open to all the great possibilities that this life has to offer. Each day presents new opportunities to grow and get better. Through increased awareness I look for the chances that arise to put down my shield and open a door. I encourage you to do the same.

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