Dear Paige E.,
I’m having a hard time these days because people have wildly different political views…if I see an opposing view it can ruin my day because I can’t stop thinking about it. I know I can’t change their opinion, so how do I stop wasting energy on this?
When faced with an opinion that differs from your own, I recommend that you unpack it. Unpacking it allows you to A) Make sure you are being open minded, and B) Move on.
To unpack it, ask yourself why the opinion bothers you, and whether it was formed from a place of love, knowledge, and goodness. Make sure that you’re being honest with yourself as you unpack the opinion that you disagree with. Saying, “their opinion bothers me because they’re being stupid,” is not constructive. Saying, “It bothers me because my experience with XYZ makes me believe that XYZ…” is a healthier alternative. If their opinion comes from a place of love/knowledge/goodness, perhaps you need to do a little more research and have healthy conversations about the topic with people whose opinions aren’t the same as yours. Acknowledging areas of learning and growth is ok. In fact, it’s great!
If their opinion doesn’t come from a good place, they are either a fool or they have not yet had the life experiences necessary to form a more compassionate opinion. If the latter, you must forgive them. They don’t know what they don’t know. They’ll learn in due time. If they don’t learn, then pity them, for those that are ignorant and/or hateful cannot possibly experience true love and goodness.
“Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge. The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving.”
Regardless of what religion you practice (if any) I think we can agree that the proverb above is powerful. Essentially, there’s nothing you can do to change a fool’s mind. They will continue to be foolish, refusing to listen and amend their ignorant ways. Fools put people into categories such as “socialist,” “conservative,” “liberal,”“democrat,” “republican,” and “feminist,” so that they can justify not listening to an opinion that differs from their own. They don’t want to recognize personal biases. They have no interest in doing the “right’ thing by hearing someone else out. We must learn to accept that fools exist, and protect our energy from them. They thrive when they deceive others into experiencing negativity.
Do “fools” really deserve to steal your peace? No. The best way to combat fools is to recognize they exist, take a deep cleansing breath, and move on by focusing on the light that you can put out into the world.
One of the beautiful things about this world is that every single one of us is different. These differences make life interesting while allowing us to develop into the best versions of ourselves, if we are wise enough to let them. You cannot control anyone but yourself. By unpacking opinions, practicing forgiveness, and focusing on being a good person, you can shut down overwhelming thoughts and move on with your day.
I hope this helps! Let me know your thoughts.