Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Musings: Talking about what you believe in

I don't usually use this blog for anything political or too personal (although I would argue that books are very personal for me). But I have been having a lot of thoughts the past few weeks (or even months really) about how to talk about what you believe in. A lot has been happening in our country that has polarized the nation.

First of all, I am a person who does not like to discount other peoples' viewpoints. It's the only way that I can ensure I get all the information and understand fully what is going on (as much as I can). In a lot of ways it's like reading a book. I want to find out all of the background information about the major players and events. I need to understand the motivations and context of the story before I can root for any one hero or anti-hero. 

My life experiences, education and upbringing have given me a lot of this background. So I always knew I was on the side of things like marriage equality and equal rights for all people no matter their race or culture. However, moving from one city to another has shown me that there are so many different people in this country. And they all have very different views.

So, how do we talk to them? I actually got some great advice from a book about writing. It's about how to structure a sentence. It said that the job of a sentence is to convey information. So when I talk to people who don't share my beliefs, I try to make my sentences more informational then emotional. Of course, that's not always going to happen. Because these are emotional issues. People's lives are at stake here. So of course it should be emotional and personal. But sometimes when people argue against something that would give equality and freedom to everyone it's not because they're against kindness and goodness. It's not because they're cruel and evil people. It is because they're fighting for their own truth, what they believe to be true just as much as I believe in mine. 

So it's not about telling the opposite side that they're wrong, but about telling them why you think you're right. Approach things with positivity. With the mindset that we're all good people.

Another one of my beliefs is that no one wants to be a bad person. So, don't treat them like they are.


  1. Hear hear, cousin! It was joyous to see Facebook & Twitter blow up with positivity. But I know that my friends/family are people who believe in racial & gender equality. I was with several friends last week who were in ongoing "discussions" with people back home on Facebook - one over gay marriage, the other over the confederate flag, and it was really making them angry (understandably). Like you, they approached the "discussion" with patience and intelligence, but it was hard.

    1. It's so hard to have conversations with someone who's beliefs are completely opposite of yours. And it really stinks when you think they're being irrational or not making sense to you. But, no matter what, if I keep my head and make my point that's enough for me. I do believe in speaking up for your beliefs if you think you can make a positive difference. But sometimes these conversations I see happening are very negative and at the end I think both parties end up upset.