It’s the thing about getting older–we get wiser. Usually. We realize we know less than we thought and in many cases we really know nothing.
At least that’s been true of me. I remember being in my early 20s and being far less able to take critical input than I am now. In fact, it didn’t occur to me that there was anything to be said about my absolutely perfect and knowledgeable work product. Or my life
Fast forward 45 years. Oh, how little I knew then. And now? Still, I know nothing.
I’ve always believed in the power of reason and logic. Today, though, that belief has been turned on his head, as otherwise smart people are unable to see what’s so obvious to me about the country and its leadership. I’ve given this much thought in recent months, because it seems so inexplicable. Many of you also struggle with this within your own families.
It’s easy to discount them as stupid or uncaring or ignorant, and in some cases, that’s true. But sometimes, we love them so we don’t want to do that. They are our nearest and dearest. What to do then?
What I’ve learned is that it’s impossible to convince someone to change an opinion that is forged out of the experiences that make up their world view. If you’ve been raised to see the world around you as largely hostile threatening or out to take advantage of you, you will never be convinced otherwise. Ain’t gonna happen.
You might otherwise be a rocket scientist, but on this one thing? You won’t see logic or reason.
It’s deep. Gut level. Almost tribal.
So what do we do when we otherwise love them?
We continue to love them. We come from a place of understanding. We agree to disagree.
I’m not going to claim it’s easy. I’m also not going to suggest this approach is easy for those not in your circle of family. After all, I can be damn scrappy with people I don’t know who hold opposing beliefs to mine. (BTW, I’ve never changed anyone’s mind this way.) But still, our job is to love them.
However, I’ve only recently learned that when you have insight into how that person has come to their beliefs, when you really see them and feel them, it becomes easier to love them and let it go. I didn’t think it was possible.
But now, I know that it is.