Why Positive Change is So Slow: My Way is the Right Way

Do you remember when George Bush said he never thought twice about his decisions--he made them and was done? 

How many times have you engaged in or witnessed someone so zealously committed to his or her beliefs that relationships were torn apart over something that might have been relatively small in significance?

How often do you, when you are talking to someone,  find yourself getting stony when you realize the person holds a different viewpoint and you can't imagine how he/she doesn't see it the same way you do?

What is wrong with people? We all think it, sometimes hundreds of times in a day, when we realize not everyone sees things the way we do. Sometimes we argue till we're blue in the face. Sometimes they do. And in the end, each person's more convicted to his or her belief than before the conversation began.

We've certainly seen it in the anti-vaccine/pro-vaccine divide, the alt-med/med divide. Hatred, contempt, and ugliness are rampant when the two sides in these debates come together to discuss thing. 

All over a difference of belief or a difference of perspective.

Sometimes over the use of one word or a single sentence.

When we get someone or many people chiming in to share how they perceive it, we may double or triple down and become even more entrenched.

Sometimes, we all get lucky and everyone considers other perspectives and empathy for the other people's positions is gained, and we walk away better, more open, more accepting. 

Often, though, that's not the case.

And when we become entrenched and certain we are right and anyone who feels differently is wrong, we all lose. Positive change becomes impossible.

Why do so often feel the need to chime in when someone shares a belief or a practice that we don't follow? Why do we have to judge the other person negatively? Think we're better than that person, more enlightened because we believe x while he believes y and who in his right mind would believe y?

We're not going to agree on everything. We may agree on very little. That ought to be, within reason, okay. If we believe in being kind to others, willing to learn and grow and listen, then why does it matter if I'm conservative in my approach and another is liberal, or if one person is Christian and the other person is atheist?

Shouldn't core values like making the world a kinder, more accepting place for diversity trump other differences?

I think it should, but I'm not going to go beat up on you over it. It'd negate my core belief. And that doesn't make me better than you or make me right and you wrong. It means we're all different and we're all walking our own paths and those journeys are often hard enough without adding bullshit to it.


kathleen said...

Ha! Yup. Sometimes I think that if all the energy spent having these arguments-getting people to "side" with you..spending all that you have just bringing another person down...sometimes I think"if only that energy were spent trying to make the world a better place for everyone"..the world might be a better place...but that is only my opinion...I allow that many others will have theirs..:)

melbo said...

I'm starting to realise I don't have the energy now for an all-in barney. Why do we do it to ourselves? As you say, in the end, we just end up angry and more resolute. It seldom leads to conciliation and better understanding.

Social media is a bit of a stress release for some I think. I mean, it always has been but seems more so now. There is safety behind a screen and a keyboard but if a person goes ballistic in real life at the people who've wronged them, the police might be called.

Just my theory. Anyway, as Judge Marilyn would say "Stick a fork in me - I'm done". =)