We all know the familiar phrase, "The Truth will set you free," and we all claim to want to know the truth both inside and outside of ourselves. However, new research shows that we really don't want to know someone else's truth if it differs from ours. We seek out information which validates our beliefs and not the opposing views. When we do familiarize ourselves with the opposition, it is for the purpose of refutation!
The analysis reported by the American Psychological Association and led by researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Florida, included data from 91 studies involving nearly 8,000 participants. This study "puts to rest a longstanding debate over whether people actively avoid information which contradicts what they believe, or whether they are simply exposed more often to ideas that conform to their own because they tend to be surrounded by like-minded people." The answer is that people do not wish to know the other side. Also, cited by the study is the important point that the more confident one is about his beliefs, the more likely to be exposed to opposing viewpoints; however, if one lacks confidence, he is not likely to seek out information about the opposition.
What does this mean to you and bode for your relationship?
When you are growing and focusing on self-growth, it's all about you: your transformation, your happiness and your fulfillment. This self absorption fuels you to emerge creatively with greater self-empowerment and so, to advocate for yourself. This is all wonderful and a necessary first step. However, when you hold yourself in such high self-esteem that you become a dictator while your significant other becomes a doormat, you are not seeing the whole truth of your relationship. Keep in mind that the "I" you have cultivated consists of two eyes to see the whole picture. You need to see the other side. Use these questions to achieve an honest balance:
All of us try to coast through life by following a routine to give us stability. However, no one can remain at equilibrium. Everything and everyone is changing all around us. We are constantly changing internally before we perceive how we change externally. So, when we think that we are in balance, actually we are not! As soon as we adjust to family, friends and colleagues, disappointment or even good fortune comes along to undermine our stability; there is a shift in their lives and so in our own.
We should challenge our balance all the time, rehearsing to become more flexible and fluid. Zen philosophy uses simple opposites to help us achieve greater balance: the yin-yang of things. In Zen the thing and the no-thing must both be considered in order to reach a more expansive and happier understanding. We are all students and teachers. No one is just the teacher.
Here are some suggestions to open yourself up to differing ideas and perspectives which challenge your cherished truths: