Ever wonder why opinions are so hard to put up with? As much as we want to respect differing points of view, it is truly hard to understand why other people think so different from you. It is easier to say that you respect someone for thinking differently, than it is to actually do it. There are subjects in which each one of us is truly passionate about. We feel that we are correct towards that subject. We feel that our view makes sense, and why would anyone disagree with it?
The truth is that we form attachments towards certain subjects as a result of our life experiences, upbringing, culture, socioeconomic background, religion, and so forth. Opinions are the result of a thought process that started its formation long before you realized that you thought a certain way. There are times when we, ourselves, have no clue about how we feel towards a topic until someone introduces the subject to us. The tough times come not from the formation of that opinion, but from the argument and disagreement that takes place with others that disagree.
What is the origin of a disagreement? This is simple, and I am certain that you would tell me something along these lines: “disagreement is the lack of agreement; the absence of like-mindedness among people, etc.” Once you realize that equal thoughts emerge from the aspects that I outlined above, you can at least, move forward with more clarity. The question is not “how do I get them to agree with me?” but “how can we disagree and still relate to each other civilly?” My answer is quite sarcastic and simple: mind your own business.
Listen, unless it is something that will hurt someone, breaks the law, is in violation of rights…and the rest of the legal/relational stuff: I recommend you to mind your own business. This does not mean that you cannot have a nice, healthy, heated debate. It means that you do not allow yourself to lose sleep over a difference of opinions. There are those of you who will find it hard to understand why your friend of “x amount of years” cannot agree with you on this one thing that is SO IMPORTANT TO SAVING HUMANITY. The truth is that your friend and neighbor has every right to think for themselves.
I always say that rather than being against something, try to be for something. Your perspective of life will change dramatically. I used to be the type that would think about disagreement of opinions, especially the political/religious type of topic, and would just toss and turn at night trying to figure out why people thought a certain way. I just could not wrap in my mind that others also had the same right to feel, say, or express an idea that was different than mind. How limiting to be this way! I found myself in the very misery of what I had created. I went as far as breaking friendships because we did not agree. I was so almighty, all-knowledge, all-power, all-right, all-perfect. When in reality, I was wasting away these wonderful relationships and friendships that could have resulted in strong bonds. I write this from the perspective of the jerk that could not, and would not, accept that others also had the ability to think on their own.
So what are we to do when things get tough and we suddenly feel that we no longer “like” someone? We get over ourselves. Listen, you can have a healthy friendship where you establish parameters of communication. If you know, in your heart that you cannot deal with someone else’s difference of ideas, then you need to stay away from having a conversation that may lead to a weird argument or the exercise of the silent treatment. If your religion has a certain set of believes, such as mine within the Christian construct, you need to ask yourself whether you are showing and extending true love. Your job is not to judge, or convince that person of your opinions, but to extend mercy. We extend mercy by accepting the relationship…never by judging. If you are concerned about a friend’s lifestyle, you can safely express it without pushing away that person. Remember that you are not perfect either.
As a Christian, I have friends from many walks of life that do not necessarily conform to the Christian lifestyle. I have learned to show love in the place that I am in. This does not mean that I am a passive Christian, or that I am simply okay with anything that my friends do…it means that I have openly showed who I am and that they are forever welcomed in a safe place of respect and love.
You may disagree with me, but this is who I am. Would love to hear your opinions, whether they are in agreement or disagreement of mind.