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Random: my bright yellow, fun-loving hair, viewing Stonehenge.

Random: my bright yellow, fun-loving hair, viewing Stonehenge.

New blog series on the rise: Balancing life

It’s not like you need a statistic for me to tell you that open-minded people are happier, inquisitive, and more prone to loving life than those who are stuck in their ways or hate trying new things (See the bright yellow hair above). It’s common sense. There is only one threat to the person high in openness, and that’s the tendency for close-minded people to see then as two-faced or manipulative in communication. So if the problem is really someone else’s, why mention it?

It is something of a phenomenon to me that those who have met adversity continue to be close-minded, or were never open-minded to begin with.  I expected, and wrongfully, that those who feel different in their views and lifestyles, as if they are the minority, are open-minded. The truth is that they can be just as close-minded as the people who ostracize them.

  Firstly, when one is able to see multiple sides of a story, they can come off as manipulative or false when they communicate with someone who is stuck in their ways.  My communication style when something is amiss goes like this, “You tell me why it’s important to you, I’ll tell you why it’s important to me, and I apologize if I made you feel sad, and we will come to a conclusion even if we don’t agree. “ Dialouge. Conclusion. But is it really that simple? When I assess someone’s intentions and their purpose, I can come off looking like I am trying to appease them, or turn them to my side. Because I can say, “oh, I see what you meant,” I am automatically lying and have ulterior motives. What those motives are, I do not know. I can tell you that people who know I am 100% wrong in my thinking do not trust me when I try to communicate. That’s too bad, and again, not my problem. Now back to the weird part.

The weird part. Do I like to support my points using “controversial” subject matter? No, not usually, but this happens to be the perfect occasion. So now marriage is legal for everyone, and it support of that, people who were never banned from marriage were changing their facebook profile pictures to rainbows in support. So now you have people who are gay, and people who are not gay, supporting the same cause. All of a sudden, there was a backlash from people I know who thought that straight people should not have rainbows. I will not use a direct quote from this person, as I do not wish to divulge their identity ( remember, I’m wrong anyway, no matter what), but in summary, he was offended because all of a sudden it was cool for straight people to stand up for gay rights, overnight, and it “does not affect straight people”.  I had a blog ready at the time, and decided not to post it, but it went like this:

“So why refuse the support of someone who is happy for you? It might be hard to trust someone if you think they’re doing something to fit in, that you don’t believe is necessary. However, you must remember that they might not just be supporting you. They could have a child, parent, best-friend, or cousin who is gay, that they are supporting through changing their picture.  They could know people who have struggled and are so happy to see the change that they want to show them their support. It might not be just about you and your right to marry. If you don’t have an open mind like the people who changed their picture, then it just won’t register with you.”

So it was then I realized someone who had met adversity and has not had the same rights as me their whole life might not learn to be open-minded and accepting of others, even though things weren’t easy for them. I was shocked, because I thought oppression would make someone more open to other opinions. I was totally wrong.

       How does it help you to dismiss the opinions of people from a different demographic background if they’re trying to help you?

It doesn’t.

I cannot change people, though I do have hope that someday they can grow and recognize when people value their opinion and want to communicate effectively even though there are different views involved. Most of the time, people aren’t trying to understand you to manipulate you—they’re trying to understand you in order to help, or at least try.

So begins this blog series on balancing life.