These are turbulent times! The divisiveness is so palpable, and with it comes anger, hostility, frustration, and violence. I’m guessing humans have disagreed since the beginning of time, so having opposing viewpoints should not be surprising to anyone. What has surprised me more and more lately is the desire people have to impose their views on others.
I have always worked very hard to try to see and understand another person’s point of view if it is different from mine. The beliefs that I have are strong. They are strong because I don’t blindly take another person’s word as fact. I read, I study, I search, and I ask questions. When I hear something that contradicts what I believe to be right or accurate, I usually take time to really think about it. But… not always! I am human, so I still have a tendency to have knee-jerk reactions like everyone else. But I try to take what they are saying, process it, and consider it.
Another tactic that I find helpful in seeing all viewpoints is to argue against myself. If I have a strong opinion or view on an issue that is important to me, I will seek out sources that support the opposing view. I want to ensure that I am not coming from deeply held emotions or beliefs instilled in me from childhood or in ignorance. Seeking resources, such as people, books, and websites, that have opposing views is a great idea. It is critical to go there with an open mind, seeking information to help ensure you are making the best decisions.
Have you been wrong in the past? Have you jumped to conclusions, finding out later that you made a mistake? Have you passed judgements on others, only to see later that you were way off? I know I have. We all have. So, does it stand to reason that some of your most strongly held beliefs could be incorrect? Of course!
One reason that most people stick to firmly held beliefs is that they see no reason to change those beliefs. Another great way to challenge your beliefs is to first ask yourself how things are going for you. I am always amazed when someone tells me how much they are doing and how hard they are working, and do so as if they are trying to persuade me to do what they are doing…yet they are failing. The most important time to rethink your position or beliefs is when things aren’t going well. Defending a diet that you’ve been on while continuing to be overweight? Pushing an investment strategy while struggling to pay your bills? Or giving relationship advice while speeding into a divorce? Your position might require a makeover.
One thing I have found is that minds are not being changed right now. You “know” you are correct, and your neighbor “knows” he or she is correct. Nothing you say or do will change his or her mind. And your mind is made up. So now what? If I know I am correct… and you know you are correct… then what do we do? Here’s the answer… You do your thing… I’ll do mine.
I’ve seen some things through this whole COVID-19 thing that I think are ridiculous. And I realize that you might think those thoughts that I have are ridiculous. Instead of me ridiculing someone or expending a bunch of energy thinking negatively about them, I just let them do what they are doing. We can strongly disagree, and convincing each other is futile, so for now… you do your thing… and I’ll do mine.
And I’m only using COVID-19 here as an example. Whether it is healthcare choices, relationship strategies, financial planning, parenting, politics, or anything else, you keep doing your thing… but be sure to let others do their thing.