I have noticed so many things over this last year. I have noticed that people form an opinion and then proceed to “know” that they are right. How do they know? How are they positive and sure about what they think?
I think that one of the reasons I went into social work is because I tend to be able to see two sides to any situation. It came in handy when I was sitting in front of a marital couple, and they were both telling me their side of the story. They each have a side and they tend to think their side is the right side. I have learned with my husband that my opinion is just that – it’s just my opinion. He may have a different opinion. I have learned that I may be wrong. Have you ever thought about that before that you may be wrong?
Don’t get me wrong. We need to form opinions. We need people to be leaders and plow forward thinking that they are right and that they have a solid vision to better the future. I applaud that. I want people to make a difference. I just sometimes wonder if people ever question the other side of things?
Where is this all coming from? It is coming from the research I am currently doing in regards to the school board election going on today in my school district. It has been such a hard school year as you all know. I just hope that the best candidates win. I am currently reading about each candidate and learning as much as I can about them. That’s what we can do. We can do our own research and make the best decisions that we can. I try not to just take someone’s word about anything. I think it’s great to talk to people we respect and collect information. We can gather information in multiple ways.
Do you think that your religion is the “right” religion?
Do you think that your political views are the “right” political views?
I think that as I get older and gain confidence, I have found that telling myself that I am right was just me being insecure. I was feeling insecure, and I needed to close my mind to thinking I was right. Having doubts in myself made me feel uneasy. I have changed. Now I see that there are many different sides to looking at things. I have learned that there are many different religions and many differently political ways to look at things. I have learned that there are six candidates for the school board with many different views on what they think needs to happen to make our school district better. I am learning to appreciate differences more and more the older I get.
I used to snap at Seth and think that he was wrong. My way was the right way. How could I be so closed minded to my husband? Seth is such a smart man. Now I know to really listen. Listen to what other people’s opinions are. Do they make sense?
I have opinions on many things. What makes a good parent? What makes a good spouse? What makes a good pet parent? What makes a good politician? What makes a good doctor? The list goes on and on. I collected data over my last 44+ years to give me all these opinions. As we gain more information with age, we may find ourselves seeing things in a different way. This is ok. This is growth. Keep growing and learning and attempting to keep an open mind in the process.
I hear people bash candidates whether it is a presidential candidate or a school board candidate. That just doesn’t seem right to me. Doesn’t everyone think they know what’s best? Don’t these candidates all have good intentions? Maybe I am totally naïve, but I think there is goodness in a lot of people. I don’t tend to automatically think bad about someone. Especially if I don’t personally know them or have enough information about them.
What exactly am I challenging you to do:
- Try to see multiple sides to a situation.
- Try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Be empathic.
- Try to see the good in people.
- Collect data in multiple ways.
- Keep yourself calm. Once we get angry and reactive, we tend to close off to hearing other sides to things.
- Ask a lot of questions and avoid assumptions. Be curious.
- Be interested in others.
- Remember that you may not know something. We are learning more every day. I remember therapists saying they didn’t want to go to a training. I challenged them that I bet they would learn something new.
I challenge you to keep an open mind. I challenge you to realize that your opinion is just an opinion. An opinion doesn’t mean that you are 100% right.
Continue to learn and grow every day.
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R
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