Take a stand
April 5, 2013 by
Categories: Acceptance, Human

Everyone has an opinion. The funny thing is everyone thinks that theirs is right, even though it may be at odds other opinions. I think to a large extent having so many different beliefs and opinions is a good thing. It can create discussion which facilitates growth. On one extreme, however, it can lead to fear, hate, and violence.  It’s sometimes scary to me to watch how close we come to that extreme. It’s even more scary when people aren’t aware of it.

Image by death27

Image by death27

I think that it is crucial to step back and think about how our opinions affect others. It’s immature to not care about the consequences our beliefs have on others. I also don’t think we necessarily have to change our opinions after considering the consequences. (Previously I wrote about the advantages of being able to hold contradicting perspectives at the same time.) We don’t even necessarily need to apologize for our beliefs and opinions. It’s just that by considering the consequences, it makes it more difficult to have a discussion of opinions lead down the path of fear, hate, and violence.

Several years ago there was a movement to increase people’s tolerance of those different from them. Back when the movement was going, I could see the benefits, but I had a hard time getting past the idea of tolerance. To me, when I’m tolerating something, it is annoying, a burr under my saddle, but I’m just living with it. One of the characteristics that I have tried to cultivate through life is a respect for differences. I know that I have not always demonstrated respect, and even today it is an area of growth for me. There have been time that being respectful was scary because it felt as if I was compromising my own beliefs. But it hasn’t. In some ways, my beliefs have become stronger because they are clearer. Though admittedly  this clarity has created some adjustments in my beliefs, but it has been for my benefit. The adjustments have brought me closer to what I truly believe, and therefore closer to how I want to live my life.

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