Updated: Aug 2, 2020
I was catching up with a childhood friend the other day, and it got me thinking about how we are influenced by others.
We all have a bubble that we sort of float around in. A bubble that is made up of the people we tend to surround ourselves with. Sometimes our bubble is comfortable with like-minded people and sometimes our bubble can feel a little like we are pushed up against the inner wall with everyone else’s thoughts and opinions threatening to squeeze us out.
We might even be able to move smoothly from one bubble to the next, decidedly quiet so as to remain un-noticed and welcome no matter what shape the bubble takes in terms of opinion and stances. Or we might move strong and forceful dipping in and out of spaces until we are no longer heard in one particular group or friendship and the bubble bursts.
It seems like the bubble with like-minded people would be the most preferable…warm, comfortable, inviting. “Come on in! We all think the same here!”
At first glance, this seems ideal; however, when we think about the nature of an actual bubble, it gives pause for thought. Inside an actual bubble, the air remains the same, and there is a thin layer keeping us from taking in new air.
What happens when we are unable to take in new air? We become oxygen-deprived, and our brain cells begin to die off.
If we close ourselves off from all other groups thinking separately from others, we are likely to become limited in our thinking. The same is true if we only think alone...without others, we are at risk of becoming single-minded.
So how do we find balance? Balance seems to come when we are pliable in our thinking, open to considering others while also being aware of our own core values.
We don’t have to agree with others, but we are far more pliable when we are open and willing to consider others. It’s possible to work toward an understanding of their perspective, while still holding our own.
In this way, our bubble expands and we can move freely from one group to the next, brain cells intact and maybe even pleasantly surprised.