When you get to a certain age, you start to realize there is always going to be that one person that will always want to disagree with you. The person that takes things TOO far, the person who ALWAYS has an opinion about everything, and the person that is NEVER wrong.
As a military brat and you come across people from all walks of life; the poor, the rich, the fearless, and opinionated. I am so thankful for the opportunity that the Air Force afforded me with traveling to far places and allowing me to experience these people. Moving around every 3 years I would meet all sorts of crowds that had very different opinions about everything. Being around so many points of view, you learn to adapt to your surroundings and, for the most part, respect the differences and sides to every story. My friend likes to call it being a “chameleon” in that you’re able to mold yourself to fit into a new environment.
Moving so much as a kid, you also find those people that can be very closed minded. I remember in high school and college there were VERY opinionated people that used to frustrate me to no end. It wasn’t their viewpoints that aggravated me as much as their lack of ability to see another side to things from someone else’s perspective. As an adult, I’ve mastered the ability to just let most of what they say fly by. It’s easier to let those people have their pedestal to preach on rather than to try and show them an understanding of something different. These people with their opinionated, “NEVER wrong” mentalities, are honestly who I feel sorry for.
When I spent time in Europe and other countries, I can’t tell you how many times I was looked at as being “less than” simply for being a woman. I distinctly remember one instance, when I was in another country doing a service project and our translator was explaining to me how they weren’t used to seeing women or girls do manual labor as it typically wasn’t “their” place. I remember that it made me so angry at the time, but after a while I realized their thinking was more to do with the environment that they grew up around. People can’t help but learn from what they experience and see around them.
If someone can’t understand another side to things, I find it’s often because they’ve never had an experience that resembles that view, so they can’t understand how that point of view could be. I regularly try to remind myself that I am so not perfect nor do I know everything about any specific subject. I’m constantly picking up new things and growing, that it still blows my mind how much change can be learned as one gets older. One thing that I try extremely hard to do is to know when I’m wrong, and to never be afraid to admit my mistakes. Mistakes and inaccuracies are how we remember that nothing is simply black and white. Life is FULL of grey areas. It astounds me how much people can’t seem to grasp this, or are too full of their own opinions that they don’t have the ability to perceive a different side to things.
When people seem to want to argue their opinions, trying to get you to say one thing or another, I tend to ignore them, or let them just roll by. It’s not always easy, especially when they start to gloat thinking they’ve won some imaginary medal for being the “right” or “correct” person. I just look at it as an argument not worth fighting over as with those kinds of people, there’s no telling them they might be the slightest bit of wrong because they’re too closed minded to even bother to look at a bigger picture. Instead, I like to refer to a quote by one of my favorite people, Michelle Obama. During the 2016 election, Michelle Obama did a speech where she stated in one part, “When they go low, we go high“. I took this as meaning, don’t little yourself to people who can’t see a bigger picture of things. People are going to try and belittle you and bark their opinions at you, making you want to scream back at them. Don’t let them take you down to their level. Rise up and be the bigger person, and let them have their pedestal while you climb the next mountain. Let their words of hate and anger roll off like an avalanche. I can’t tell you how much better it will feel to just let these people’s words and comments go. You know those people are never going to admit they’re wrong or change, so why waste your time arguing? You’ll feel less stressed and be able to focus on the bigger picture and more important things if you can have the patience to hold back and walk by, while they spend the next few hours still on the past subject. If you have the ability to rise up above these negative people, you will learn and go so much further in life than you could possibly imagine.