You are the other and the other is me.

This project I’ve embarked on is one of self-discovery, yes. But more than anything else, it’s one of other-discovery. All I’m doing, when it comes down to it, is feeding an unquenchable curiosity for understanding the way other people believe, why, how and exactly what they believe. Yes, part of it is down-right nosiness, but the truth is I actually think having a deeper sense of what brings meaning to the lives of others really matters. It matters just as much as understanding what gives meaning to our own lives.

Today a dear friend shared with me a TED Talk by Elizabeth Lesser, entitled “Take ‘the Other’ to lunch.” In her address, Lesser encourages us to seek out opportunities to get to know “the other.” If you’re wondering who “the other” is, Lesser explains it simply as “anyone whose lifestyle may frighten you,” and I would add, anyone whose worldview is foreign to yours. This is precisely what my goal is over the course of the next six months…to have lunch (or coffee, or tea) with the other.

Elizabeth Lesser’s ground rules for taking “the other” to lunch:

• Don’t persuade, defend or interrupt
• Be curious, be conversational, be real
• Listen

Who are the others in your life?

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