"But in our strong, intimate relationships, we expect that other people will consistently confirm our views and, in doing so, validate us. When they don't seem to get us, or don't act in accordance with our ideas of how things should work, that's when trouble starts---and usually we assume we're right and someone else is wrong."
This part of the book really made me stop and think for a minute. After a few moments of thinking, I realized that I am guilty of this. I am guilty of wanting to only surround myself with people who "get" me---people who understand my way of thinking, living, and learning. I feel threatened, defensive, and wrongly judged when someone opposes my point of view and then I have a tendency to close off and distance myself from that person. Sound familiar?
Reading certain parts of this book really made me realize that we can't all be right. Instead of arguing over and fighting for our own opinions and beliefs, maybe we should just respect the fact that everyone has different opinions and beliefs. Instead of hand picking a little group of people we want to spend all of our time with because they get us, maybe we should stay open to relationships with new people, even if those people don't always see things exactly as we do. I think a big part of being open-minded is...well, staying open. Listening instead of getting defensive. Agreeing to disagree instead of saying, "you're wrong." Wanting peace instead of wanting validation.
So my new challenge to myself is to become more consciously aware of my reactions to people who make me feel like I'm wrong. Sometimes I may see their point. Sometimes I may still disagree (which is okay). Sometimes I may learn something from them. But it can definitely be exhausting to constantly cling to what you think is right and what you think is wrong. It can be tempting to lash out at someone who challenges that. But wouldn't it be so much easier to loosen your grip a little bit and just choose to be peaceful and open-minded instead? I think it would be.
Here is a more in-depth article about this subject from someone much wiser than me: http://tinybuddha.com/quotes/tiny-wisdom-the-urge-to-make-other-people-wrong/