Just because it’s good for you, doesn’t mean it’s good for me.
Narrow-mindedness. I have to admit, I don’t entirely understand it. How can someone think that what is encapsulated inside their head is absolute? That their view on life is the only right way to think (like speaking to strangers is categorically dangerous, or that being a stay at home mum is the best thing that can happen to someone, or that putting maple syrup on your peas is slightly idiotic) and anyone else who doesn’t share their opinions are either naïve or just a little stupid?
It is annoying and it is frustrating, to know that you’re views on a particular subject will never be accepted merely because they believe differently. But the thing that turns such frustration into real sadness is when the people who don’t care to understand your views on maple syrup (and other equally important topics such as life) are the people that you love.
Let’s take a classic ‘difference-of-opinion’ topic as an example. Politicians. Some are of the mind that all politicians are complete fakers and con artists for no other reason than they work in politics. Others believe that they are fakers and con artists because at some time a particular politician has pissed them off at some point. But I’m not sure that anyone really puts themselves in the politician’s shoes. They are real people, with the ideals and idiosyncrasies of a real person, and I am sure they don’t get up in the morning and think, which group of people will I screw over today. They are most likely trying so darn hard to make things work, but it’s a general rule of life that it is not possible to please everyone all the time. If it was possible surely they would, after all they do rely on us to give them power. So when I sit and listen to a lecture concerning the latest scam some political scum has cooked up all I can think is there must be a perfectly good reason for them doing it. Even if the perfectly good reason comes from inside their own head and others can’t see the good in it – they are doing it because they think it is right, and we can’t believe they are bad people simply because their views on what is best for the country differ from ours.
I can’t recall whether I have always had this view, or whether I too once suffered from the “my way or the highway” philosophy. I can only assume I must have, after all doesn’t every teenager believe that only they can possibly know true suffering and are oblivious to the fact that others around them also suffer (most likely from the actions of said teenagers!) But I have no recollection of ever feeling completely righteous, and so I am taking that as proof, that those who are of such a belief system do not even realise where their thoughts lie, and how they affect those who believe differently.
I do recall understanding from a very early age that no body really understood me, and I wonder if that was the precursor to realising that every person views life differently, and what is okay for one person might be perfectly ghastly for another.
I recall standing in front of a relative one day, right in the middle of one of her screaming rants, and thinking as I zoned out from the roar, I wonder if she realises how badly I wish I was dead right now (I know crazily overdramatic, but I was a teen) and then realising in the same instant that no, she will never realise that, because she can not see what I can see. At that point it didn’t occur to me that she too had issues, unfulfilled dreams, perhaps an undisclosed liking for Prime Minister Keating or an unattainable desire to taste maple syrup, but later, that particular incident made me wonder who else ever felt like that. Who else felt misunderstood and carried with them hopelessness of anyone ever understanding? It wasn’t until much later I think, that it occurred to me that everyone feels like that.
So I’m not saying that people should all change their opinions based on whatever anyone else is saying – by all means, stick to your guns, believe in yourself and spout your opinions freely for all to hear – but if someone else doesn’t see something your way, leave it alone. Don’t try to change their opinions by presenting the same facts over and over again. No matter how loud and forceful they are, it won’t change anything. Have some compassion for them, know that they might not see the good in the situation you can see, or the future disaster which is imminent in your eyes, for they experience life so much differently than anyone else and their opinions will never be the same as yours.
Just because it is good for you, doesn’t mean it is good for me – and that goes for everything, including maple syrup!