by Dianne J. Shaver, M. A.,
Because I was helping a candidate prepare for the South Carolina primary I got pretty heavily invested in wanting a win. I saw myself get really angry at the other candidate because of some facts that had surfaced. Then I watched what was going on with the other party and the pretty bitter in fighting. And, I wasn't a fan of them either.
So pretty soon I only liked one person, the one I had chosen. After the primary was over I watched the impassioned campaigning in other states. No one was neutral. Maybe sometimes that's good. But it made me look at times when I was sure I was right and others were wrong. And I looked more closely. When I was calm I realized that each person had their reasons for their choices. I have no idea of the life experiences they've had or what their path is. In their eyes they are right based on their criteria. So maybe we are all right. Maybe there is no empirical truth. Maybe for each one of us truth is based on what we've been through and what we've witnessed.
What would it be like if we just let others feel the way they do and think the way they do. Because, in the long run, it really is none of our business how anyone else thinks. And when we respect another's opinion they don't have to be in the position of defending it so maybe they can also be less rigid in their beliefs. When we don't have to defend our position it's easier to hear other people and there is a chance at dialogue with each person feeling heard. Maybe they won't change their position, maybe we won't change ours but there is no animosity. It creates peaceful coexistence.
Things can quickly get out of hand when we don't respect others over an issue that carries a lot of emotion. There are clearly many things that need to be addressed and changed in our country. Pretty much everyone agrees with that. But the solutions will have to be a synthesis if they are going to serve all people. Sure, I would like the world to be the way I want it but I know I share it with 7 plus billion people. And, I can learn from others to look at things from a different point of view, which will give me a deeper understanding. My intent now is to listen to other people's points of view. I don’t' have to share them but I can learn from them. Maybe, just maybe they have some valid points that can help. And, sad though it is, I might not always be right!