During the holiday season, meeting up with family and friends can seem daunting if you often argue about politics, beliefs or any other ‘taboo’ topic. Growing tired of the yelling and inevitable period of silent treatment following a conversation turned debate, I started to really think about differences of opinions in relation to my own beliefs.
I found that introspection helped me see things from a new angle, which in turn stopped me from escalating political disagreements.
I’d always felt slightly offended when someone had an alternate belief as me, thinking people set out to personally attack me by disagreeing with me. But, when I thought about it, many talks with people about touchy subjects have opened my eyes to new ways of thinking that I’ve adapted into my life. I applied this to topics that are often contentious. When I did, I realized other people’s’ opinions did not aim to attack me as a person. In fact, listening to other sides not only makes you well rounded, but also helps evolve your way of thinking. Taking sides may seem important at times, but more than two ways to view things exist. Sometimes, we need to take into account reality and our circumstances and open up our minds.
It has become very easy to complain about America and the government and the general negativity of it all. Dreaming up idealistic solutions that the world faces can serve as another easy way to cope. Even though it may not always seen attainable, I believe that through self inspection and careful analysis of the world, we can come together to find a balance.
I talk often about the world, politics and society with many people—parents, family, friends—each with different opinions and lifetime experiences. My parents and older people tend to drag me down to the harsh, cruel parts of the world, while my sister, friends and fellow millennials inspire me to dream bigger for the condition of the world and the people in it. Sometimes, the older people seem to have no compassion, while sometimes the younger ones seem to have way too much. Both outlooks seem unhelpful ways to view the world on their own. While there exist many ways to turn the bad into good, sometimes these methods prove complicated and require compromise. Stating that people have “differences of opinions” seems to be just a fluffy way to say that you don’t want to be preached to or understand other alternatives.
In my opinion, radical conservatives and radical liberals have many similarities; they both ignore the realities of the world. However, they do so in very different ways. In my opinion, conservatives choose to look away from the injustice that ravages our country while liberals see that injustice but want to eradicate it in a very implausible way. People on both ends of the political spectrum can still agree on issues, but disagree on how to address them.
For example, most people, it seems, want to end poverty. Personally, I believe a basic solution like setting up a system that feeds and houses people in need would solve this issue. However, this system would probably not happen because it needs have a wide support system, people willing to fund it and people who would commit their time to setting it up. Even with a seemingly simple solution, not everyone would feel pleased. Some people may view this as a set up for failure as it doesn’t fix the root of the problem. Realizing such things can be saddening and frustrating. I often have the asked myself why the everyone can’t just think like me.It would be much easier for everyone to have the same mindset, but that will likely never happen.
Even so, we have to start trying to see eye to eye sometimes. And that may mean lowering our walls, having a discussion about reality and trying to come up with a way to tackle issues. Even this may seem ambitious. But try to take a look at your views through a different perspective. Picture yourself as someone else with a different life experience, and try to see the world through their eyes. I propose that you find reality through this practice. I have not found true reality within my views; I still dream of the world holding hands and singing along to “Kumbaya.” But, through introspection, I found that thinking this not only serves as a fantasy, but also as a waste of my time. Maybe we just have to get creative and work together.