Why We Don’t Change Our Minds

I wonder if the reason why people are less likely to change their political views (or any views) is because we  might speak to our audience in a smug, hateful, condescending manner that serves to shame the opposition. When people feel attacked, they are less likely to listen to our point of view. How do people change or have the desire to re-evaluate their long-held beliefs in that kind of toxic unsupportive environment? We can’t really expect people to change while we yell at them and say (explicitly or implicitly) they are stupid, right? Because that is what a lot of political, philosophical and health related posts do. I’m smart; you’re dumb. These kind of posts serve to make people feel bad about themselves. And this can make them angry at the poster. And angry people are the last to sympathize with different opinions.

In any event, if we are concerned about changing others, we need to speak to our audience in such a way that they feel validated, supported and understood for where they are. Because, look at it this way, we were once ignorant ourselves probably at some point on our human journey and we probably are still ignorant if we are honest with ourselves. There is so much to learn and sometimes we are overwhelmed and aren’t ready for every message — even if we think we already know it all. We don’t. Are we mad at the old versions of ourselves that were once fooled? If we are, then we might project that self-loathing behavior outward. If anything, knowing that we have ‘been there’ should create humility and empathy for others, but it won’t if we are still mad at the older naive version of ourselves.

We have to be not only respectful, but sincere as well in how we promote our message. If we cannot be genuinely kind in the delivery of our message, we probably are just looking to vent, and sometimes might think our vents of rage and guilt-inducing rhetoric might make some submit to our will. But how often does that happen?

Do we want to vent or do we want to create an environment for change? This is the question we probably should ask ourselves. What we put out there, we get back. If our energy is negative, people will pick up on it and become defensive. If the energy of our message is delivered in a thoughtful manner, people will pick up on that and might be more likely to read the whole post. And that is what we want. We want readers who will at least LISTEN which creates a probability of entertaining new ideas. People cannot do this if we are putting them down.

Hot topics create anger. Anger obfuscates reason. And that anger creates more division. More division means we are feeding the very establishment players we think we are against. They LOVE division. Division makes us weak and distracted while we ignore the real enemies.

I get the anger and the frustration. Most of us might be feeling impatient because we have this belief that it’s the other team’s fault that the world might be headed for ruin. So, we have to blame someone, right? Blaming is at the very core of the victim mentality. If we play the victim and continue to blame our own peers for ruining what we think is “our country” or “our world”, we are creating the very political atmosphere we are against. Ironic, isn’t it?

It’s time to be humble. It’s time to see our OWN responsibility in the game. It’s time to really look at our roles in this. If we really look deeply at ourselves, we might come to the conclusion that we’re all in this together.

We’ve seen how politicians behave during debates. Are we happy with that behavior? And if we aren’t, why reproduce it among our own peers? Politicians aren’t the only ones building walls…..

 

 

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