Updated: Apr 16
Arguments arise when people judge something from their limited point of view or, perhaps, they have a hidden agenda behind their judgments. If we would just stop playing referees and be willing to understand each other, we will not have enemies. Depending on the scale, the process of creating an enemy could take years, but sometimes it takes as little as days and moments. We create unfriendly to us characters when we, for instance, refuse to accept someone's belief, claiming arrogantly that our religion is the best and indeed only the one that should exist at all. How would anyone react to this violent point of view? Would we gain a friend or create an enemy with this statement? Measuring others against our own yardsticks is never productive. We were not born to the same parents, we were not born in the same town, country, or continent. So, obviously, we have a different set of feelings and beliefs that represent us as individuals. Let's put ourselves in the shoes of the individual on the receiving end of this egocentric statement and other statements alike. Being on the other side, these are a few questions we might ask:
· Why do these people want to change me?
· What makes them think they are better than me?
· And how, the heck, do they know what is the best for me?
· Do they want me to disappear as an individual?
· If so (which is logically correct from the statements above), do they hate me that much?
· Do they hate me because I'm different from them?
· Because I'm different from them, they believe I'm a low-grade-production?
· If they think of me so low, do I really want to be around them?
When my daughter grew up and became able to travel on her own, she met with all of my school friends. She was shocked by this colorful group of people. "Mom, how come all of them are your friends? One of them won't say a word, and another likes to talk a lot and is outgoing; the third one, a mid-age Goth, makes her living by selling coffins, while the other one is a college professor; one of them professes Buddhism, while another celebrates every Christian holiday, and one of them is happy with our government and another is not."
"Isn't it awesome?" I asked. "When you can explore the varieties and learn something useful? While the differences could enrich you, inflexibility does the opposite—it fetters your mind, making you a prisoner of ignorance and arrogance. I should feel uncomfortable speaking about such unattractive characteristics, but I’m not. Why? —Because both characteristics are within our inner locus of control. In other words: it is up to us to decide whether to choose them or not, whether to stay in our box or get out of it, whether to be judgmental and constantly unhappy or to explore others’ opinions, filter them and maybe take something useful for us. Think about this: when people choose to befriend only people of their religion or a certain political party, they are: 1. limiting themselves in learning new things and as a result, they are not developing and 2. allowing themselves to judge others.
Does any of this sound good? To me, such voluntary restrictions are defined by the notion of my way or the highway and letting me know that these people neither want to learn from other people’s experiences nor find a consensus for their argument. The idea of control and superiority won’t let them accept an equal agreement, although the consensus at its root is a wonderful thing. Because as a result of consensus, we accept the things that are beneficial for both sides.