by user Journeyman
Some say that for the properly prepared individual, encountering the one who contradicts you is like seeing yourself in extreme form... who you might become if you went too far... showing you the fruit of your words and actions taken to the extreme.
This bit of information (if we were alert enough to catch it) might be enough to avoid mis-steps and oversteps... errors that can alienate those who might otherwise come to our aid. Excesses that can cost us jobs or friendships.
If we allow that our adversary is really our mirror... what might we learn from him or her?
In order to get anything from that situation, a very difficult challenge has to be met, because pride is so great in most people. The adversary will mirror and point out your flaw, but will do so negatively, with anger, with unfair arguments, with a failure to acknowledge your good. This activates our pride. What right does this other flawed person have to point out anything to ME? etc.
This sense of outrage is the first clue that the other definitely has found its mark in us.
Your challenge is to discard the form of the message, which is likely to be flawed or objectionable... and accept the actual information being offered by your opponent. In the big picture the opponent is handing you the missing piece of your own puzzle. You may not like the style in which he or she does it. You don't have to like it, your comfort is not the point.
I throw this open to the community with these ground rules: Responsibility for your post, and good will toward others. The use of sarcasm and hyperbole is to be avoided. Others who differ from your position (being your mirror) deserve your especial attention and respect.
Now: what might a liberal learn from a conservative? What assistance could the Left offer the Right, to make the Right better balanced? Now take it back in the other direction... what advice from the Right to the Left of the spectrum? What does Al Qaeda teach to the US and the West (setting aside of course its hate speech, threats and warlike statements... disregard the form, retain the message)? What could you learn from your "other"?