We all do it. Yep, even the people who have been reading the book Judgment Detox, by Gabby Bernstein. It is not bad or good, it is just a fact. We see things and decide whether we like them or not, or someone tells us something and often we don’t even question it or dive deeper into the topic because we already have made our mind up. Then, on the other hand, we have also experienced that all of a sudden, we like things we never thought we would. Was the way we judged it before wrong? Is it right now? And this is where we can see that right and wrong are very relative. What is right in one moment, might be wrong in another moment. What is wrong to you, might be right to someone else. It comes down to your perspective.
I believe we should be open to any perspective people have–even when it seems like the worst thing we could think of. Let’s talk about some topics that are great triggers for discussion whether they are right or wrong: abortion, eating meat, murder, divorce, and many more. Probably as you read each word, you immediately judged it, or simply thought yes, no or had your opinion about the topic on your mind. Those topics are very polarizing and widely discussed across the world, they trigger most people and most people have a very clear opinion about each topic. Every person has their reason why they agree or disagree with certain things. Who are we to judge their opinion? No one likes to be talked out of something they believe in. The only way we really change our minds, is through a change of perspective.
How and why do we decide whether we like something or not?
I find this the question we should not only ask other people, who we don’t agree with but also ourselves. I personally might never agree that murder is right, for me. But trying to understand the perspective of someone who grew up in the belief that it is necessary for religious reasons (or really any other), helped me to accept their point of view for what it is – simply another perspective on this topic.
When should we ask ourselves why we think something is right or wrong? I would say every time or at least regarding every topic at least once in our lifetime, if not more often. We all grow up with some kinds of beliefs our parents, society, and everyone and everything we were surrounded with taught us. Our values evolved this way and the way we see the world in general. During our teenage years, we start to questions what we think is right and wrong, and often change the way we think about certain things. This doesn’t and shouldn’t stop as we grow older, but it often does. Why? Because we change. Our perspectives changes, our live changes, we gain new experiences everyday – and all of this can change our perspective on certain things.
Often when we question why we believe in something or why something is wrong or right to us, we find out, that this belief doesn’t resonate with us. We grew up with it and never questioned it. Once we do, we have the chance to evaluate if we really agree with what we have been taught over the years. This is such a powerful practice that I try to integrate in my life on a regular basis. Whenever I find myself immediately judging something, I ask myself whether my opinion is really in alignment with myself or not. It helps one to stay true to oneself. It makes decisions easier, when they are necessary because we know what we stand for, we know our values, we know our opinion on things.
It is really about knowing yourself, your values, your opinions and always being open to other perspectives. Even if you don’t agree, know that people have their reason why they believe in something. Changing their opinion or values, is something only they can decide. Having an open conversation about each other’s opinions is a great way to again question one’s own perspective, broaden it, or understanding the other person better and even if you are on completely different pages, you at least can accept that.
Think about yourself. What is something that you find 100% right, something no one could change your mind about? Now imagine someone tries to change your mind about this topic, how would that make you feel? If they would simply try to tell you that you are wrong, and they are right? This doesn’t work, right? You will stay with your opinion and they with their opinion. But if you imagine a conversation where both of you talk about why you think that way, this would be much more interesting, isn’t it? Simply exchanging perspectives allow us to see things differently. It doesn’t mean that we will take on the other’s perspective, but it helps us simply understand and accept. And sometimes we gain a point of view, we would have never thought about and it opens up a new way of looking at a certain topic and we might actually change out mind. But it is not pressured on us. It is simply our choice, it is an exchange of different thinking and ways of seeing the world.
So next time you find yourself in a conversation where someone talks about something in the exact opposite way you think about the topic, try to not simply shut down and stop listening or even starting to fight their opinion, but rather listen, ask questions, ask why, listen, and if it feels right share your perspective. Let it be an open conversation where everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, because this is what we all want, isn’t it? We want to be free. We want to make our own choices. We want to live life according to our values and beliefs. This also means to allow others to do the same, even if we don’t agree and no matter how hard this sometimes might be.