Why We Have To Start Understanding Each Other
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Politics and Activism

Why We Have To Start Understanding Each Other

Exploring the opinions of others with whom you may not agree is invaluable and eye opening

Why We Have To Start Understanding Each Other
Noramay Cadena

Just for a second, pretend as though you were just an object sitting in front of someone. Something with no feelings, no opinions, no judgement. You only hear and absorb what others tell you.

It's a weird thought, isn't it? Because as humans, this isn't very natural. In fact, how could it be? We are molded by inspiration, our environment, the media, friends and family. We are opinionated beings. We have values. We feel. Everyone develops their ideas and thoughts from something, even if it's done subconsciously.

But having opinions should not to be confused with an inability to listen to other people. And I get it: Maybe becoming aware that others believe things you don't can be scary. How could they think that? Are they insane? Who are you?

But that's half the problem. We often disregard opinions that are not our own as insane or wrong. If we can train ourselves to not only hear what others are saying, but to listen and understand where they are coming from, then we will begin to make progress as a global community.

This skill is known often as empathy - our ability to understand others, to put ourselves in their shoes.

If you have two people (or parties even!) sitting at a table trying to negotiate and both are solely focused on their objective, only talking about what they want, nothing will get accomplished. Sound familiar?

I've heard many people over the last year say Trump and/or Hillary supporters are crazy (including myself!). But crazy is just an excuse to ignore the true motivations. It's giving less merit to what people actually have to say. It's us not wanting to acknowledge beliefs that we just can not support or understand. Our recent election made it clear that we are more divided than we thought.

What I'm trying to say is that it doesn't matter whether you agree or something or not. The skill of being able to step outside your head for some time to listen to someone, and truly make that effort to understand where they are coming from, gives us the ability to open our eyes, to see from other perspectives, and to understand how others work.

I'd like to see people to take a step back, acknowledge that their beliefs may be different, and for a minute, put that aside. Be open to hearing the other side, and more than that, try to figure out why this is the case.

Respecting ones' beliefs and opinions, is not the same as agreeing. In fact, they are entirely separate things.

To those who support Trump, I want to know why. I may not agree, but I still want to know why. I'm interested in seeing where you are coming from, how you form your opinions, why you think what you do. Not to be critical, but just to understand. Its both fascinating and enlightening to be able to see from other people's perspectives.

You see, Trump supporters are not crazy. They have vastly different ideas than I, and often support things I would never. But what good is it to write them off as crazy? It is far more beneficial to try to understand where they are coming from, understand their argument, understand how to understand.

If we can implement these practices into our daily lives, I think we will all discover a lot about ourselves and those we surround ourselves with. If we can utilize these strategies on a global level, we will become more productive, progressive, and cohesive.

Next time you are sitting with someone who has significantly alternative beliefs than you, ask them why they think what they do. Try to see from their perspective. Not to be critical, but simply to understand.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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