Respect and consideration

Column by Allison Borthwick, Opinion Editor

Stubbornness is exhausting.

Defying change is, often, pointless.

An existence based solely on closed-minded objection to differing viewpoints is bound to be a lonely one.

There’s a fine line between respectfully proving someone wrong and arguing for the sake of arguing.

Standing up for ourselves is a good thing. Getting back up when someone pushes us down is admirable. Persistence is the key to achievement.

But there comes a time when we have to let up a little bit. We need to be able to open our minds. We should strive to broaden our horizons. If we can’t fully accept change, we have to find a way to adapt to it or, at the very least, tolerate it.

There is no reason, unless the very foundation of our beliefs or morals is being attacked and threatened, for us to lash out at someone for doing, saying or believing something different.

Anger is never a good first reaction.

Anger is blinding – it changes us and only allows us to see what we want to see, which is usually just our side of things. We become hostile, defensive and hateful – embodiments of the purest forms of negativity, poisoning our lives and the lives of others.

It usually becomes clear too late that if we just welcomed a different perspective, regretful actions and words could have been avoided.

Avoiding unnecessary conflict usually boils down to two, sometimes foreign, concepts: respect and consideration.

Respect yourself and others enough to know that it’s not just your way or the highway. If we all not only considered each other’s differences but actively tried to understand them, actual wars could be avoided. Friendships and relationships could be saved. Barriers could be broken and glass ceilings could be shattered.

The way I was raised is different from the way you were raised. The way I was taught is different from the way you were taught. The way I feel is different from the way you feel.

All these things and more make me a fundamentally different person than you, and that absolutely doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

We are going to disagree on things. We are going to do things differently. The way I see things may be completely different than the way you see them – a fact that can either solve problems or create them. Different perspectives can either breed positive change or regression.

We can accept that there is beauty and opportunity in our respective differences, or we can keep fighting them every step of the way.

“One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment. If it doesn’t turn out right, we can modify it as we go along,” said Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Let’s modify, shall we?

If we keep doing the same things out of utter defiance of change, we will all just be driving around in circles – getting nowhere, achieving nothing.

We need to stop allowing our pride to burn bridges we may end up wanting to cross.