Changing Your Mind

Why do I care so much when others don’t agree with me?

Why can parking lots bring out the worst in me?

Why do pastors on television, no matter what they’re saying, make me mad?

Why does my heart race and my palms sweat when I have a lively discussion with someone about a topic on which we disagree?

Why do I feel the need to prove someone wrong when they don’t see things the way I do?

Why is my goal to change their opinion? Why isn’t my primary goal to understand their perspective?

Why do I have trouble discerning the difference between my kids misbehaving or simply not doing things my way?

Where is my former college room mate/current psychoanalyst Jason McCarty when I need him?

I think modernity has created this environment – rightness outweighs empathy; confidence is overvalued; finding comfort somewhere between paradoxical viewpoints is seen as illogical and ludicrous.  We have pigeonholed relationships into this world view, unable to discern between people and ideologies.  We cannot have civil conversations about politics or religion because, instead of allowing ourselves to marvel at the multiple interpretations of which the human mind is capable, we find out what someone believes and immediately categorize them.

Liberal lefty.

Righteous righty.

Pro-choice equals life hater.

Pro-life equals legalistic condemner.

Traditional church equals dead church.

Emerging church equals shallow church.

Churched equals religious.

Unchurched equals immoral.

Republicans are indifferent to the plight of the poor.

Democrats are amoral.

And so we stay huddled in our own corners, lobbing rhetorical bombs, the anger intensifying.

Here’s a thought: let someone disagree with you today, and don’t let it affect your self-worth.  Consider listening instead of persuading.

You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do” (Ann Lamotte)

When’s the last time you changed your mind about something you are passionate about?  Never?  Ever consider that the odds you are right about EVERYTHING is probably nil?

Phew.  Glad I got all that off my chest.  Tomorrow will be lighter.  Promise.

5 Replies to “Changing Your Mind”

  1. “Why does my heart race and my palms sweat when I have a lively discussion with someone about a topic on which we disagree?”

    “Why do I feel the need to prove someone wrong when they don’t see things the way I do?”

    The two points above don’t quite seem to make sense, in the same person. I’d be interested to hear how this plays out….

    1. I think it depends on the topic – some I am comfortable discussing, and others seem so obvious that I have trouble understanding how someone could hold that view. I would like to be more comfortable discussing ANY disagreement.

      I guess what I’m most curious about is why I (or we as humans) feel so emotionally stirred when someone disagrees with an opinion or belief – they can’t forcibly change our ideas, so why is an opposing view threatening?

  2. Good reminder. S and I have been trying to sort this one out lately. Why do some of those people on your list make our heads (ok, mostly mine) want to explode? Mostly I guess it has to do with feeling with threatened and insecure (like you said, self-worth). Sometimes, too, it seems to be about the frustration of watching people talk past each, having big public arguments without really having any idea what the other side is saying. And that can be discouraging or infuriating, depending on my mood. But even then, it always seems to come back to my own sense of insecurity and being threatened – it’s not up to me to fix it, to know enough to put everyone else in their places. I’m still working on that one.

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