If nothing else the recent inauguration of the American President has given us more than enough examples of conflict. Okay, in reality not the inauguration itself but certainly the events leading up to it and Trump’s actions since. The election debates, the protests, the marches, the backlash from some, and endorsements from others. It appears the issues are black and white from either side of the political spectrum.
One side propagates Christianity as the reason for the changes while the other side claims it is anything but Christian. There are terrorist attacks, there is the shooting of innocent people, there is the threat of war, there are millions fleeing from their countries seeking a safe haven, and on it goes. And with all that comes a broad spectrum of ideologies and beliefs. With Fox news being the source for the right and, based on them, all other media being a source for the left. As they say, if you don’t read the paper or watch news you are uninformed. And if you do read the paper and watch news you are misinformed.
There are many different beliefs, diverse cultures, and political diversity. So what is our response? Depends on who is asking. So an event occurs that goes against everything we believe in. It only makes sense to lash out, add insult to injury, lambast the establishment, and insult the other side. Or does it? Don’t get me wrong. There are atrocities happening all around us, whether on the other side of the world or closer to home. But it seems to me that the response is somewhat counterproductive. It appears that we are just adding to the noise.
In a macro sense that is conflict at its worst. In a smaller way that paints a picture of many of our own personal conflict experiences. A conflict as defined by the Encarta dictionary is “a disagreement or clash between ideas, principles, or people’. Conflict is a normal occurrence in our lives that has the ability to destroy relationships. Similar to macro conflict, individuals involved in interpersonal conflict often have this ability to add fuel to the fire and to lash back, to become angry and lose any sense of what is right and what is wrong. We have a tendency to add to the noise.
Wouldn’t we live in a good world if we all got along? Wouldn’t we live in a perfect world if all our beliefs were the same? The reality is that we don’t but it would seem to me that there could be a different approach to dealing with a difference of opinion. (Please understand that this is coming from someone who does not necessarily practice what he preaches.)
Why does it seem inherent in many of us to become defensive and angry when presented with an opinion or an idea that we do not agree with? Invariably conflict is the result of assumptions. As these assumptions take root we become defensive because we are presented with an unbearable idea, one that, whether we are aware of it or not, makes us unacceptable to ourselves. It feels like an attack on our self-esteem and so we react to try and save face.
Perhaps we are uninformed. Perhaps our preconceived notions or assumptions misinform us to the reality of the conflict we are involved in. If we would take the time to build understanding, of ourselves and of others, we could become informed and deal with differences in a proactive way for the betterment of ourselves and others. We could rise above the noise and truly make a difference. Make it a good one.
“When you judge another, you do not define them. You define yourself.” Wayne Dyer