This week’s Daily Post Discover Challenge asks participants to discuss the rewards and challenges of engaging before judging. In other words, we’re discussing open-mindedness.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
“Think before you act.”
“We have a difference of opinion on just about everything!”
That last one was a Stargate SG-1 quote, and yes, so is the screenshot you see here.
This is not a Stargate-related article (sorry to anyone who thought that was the case).
We’re actually talking about open-mindedness and the success/failure of being open-minded.
I’ll be perfectly honest, open-mindedness has both paid off and backfired for me. I consider myself open-minded and willing to listen to all sides. I have a hard time with individuals with short fuses who will just jump on someone over their response or view towards something. As someone who has had this happen to them, I see the challenges of being open-minded on a regular basis.
We’re in a heavily contentious political season, where everyone is jumping on everyone else for how they feel or don’t feel about important issues. There’s also this crazy annoying story about a Quarterback who refuses to stand for the “Star Spangled Banner.” Between Trump versus Clinton and Kaepernick versus The People, the news is enough to make any rational person’s head spin. I know my head is, and they don’t come any more rational than me.
People are extremely quick to argue everything is a political issue, when clearly, certain things are not. My brother shared the Colin Kaepernick story on Facebook the other day, and when I expressed that he deserved all the backlash he gets for his refusal to stand for the national anthem, a respondent (I’ll protect anonymity and not say the affiliation this person has to me) took the opportunity to reply to my response and citing that Kaepernick is a pawn for President Obama. It was a pretty asinine response. I was never trying to make it political, and yet, it became political. When I responded with “When did this become a political issue?”, respondent’s response felt incredulous: “are you kidding me?”
No, I’m not kidding. My response was simple: I hope he gets all the backlash he deserves for his actions. Respondent decided politics needed to be discussed at that exact moment. Now, I’m a registered Republican, but I refuse to discuss politics and always keep an open mind toward everything I hear. I state my position sporadically because I never want it to be the focus of how readers perceive me as a writer. I also say this because, as you can tell, I’m not an argumentative Republican, as we’re usually referred to. This respondent really decided to lay into me, and I backed off just as quickly as the individual swooped in. I don’t feel like being challenged for my “take politics out of this” response. It wasn’t what I responded for – I responded because I have the right to. I know he felt the same (and he’s entitled to – First Amendment rights and all), but bringing a politically-charged response as a means to challenge me angers me more when I wasn’t even discussing politics of any type in the first place.
And that, dear readers, is the time my response has backfired on me, all because I was keeping politics out of the argument.
A school friend of my mom tried this on me once, just once, and I ignored him. I’m not even sure he knew I was her daughter. My explanation to my mom: “He doesn’t know me, and I don’t feel like getting into an argument with someone so obstinate.”
And yet, this has happened twice in the last few months. Political tensions aside, some people are just too closed-minded for me to deal with.
The reward of being open-minded is that I have the advantage of seeing things from all sides. Not taking challenges from others when your views are questioned is the greatest reward from me. I’m usually able to steer possible annoyance away just by saying “I’m not bringing (insert issue here) into this.” I’ve been respected enough by some where they just back off the issue, and for those who challenge me, I will back off on my own. That’s the beauty part about being open-minded, it is easy to walk away.
I remember stating my political party affiliation at one time, and someone who actually respected me enough, and attends the same convention I do, said “You know what? You like Stargate, right? That’s why we are friends.” See? You see?! Common ground on other things can be found. I’d hate to ever lose out on worthwhile conversations and people over political differences, especially when I don’t even like discussing them to begin with!
I’m also open-minded about people, even if someone tells me they don’t like them. I’ll always approach people with the intent that they don’t have ill will toward me. Unless I’ve been shown otherwise, I’ll never treat anyone with ill will. Heck, if it has been shown that someone doesn’t like me, through either words or actions, I’ll still not be mean, I’ll just avoid the person. I never take someone’s word that someone else doesn’t like me, unless I’ve actually been shown it. Whether or not my open-mindedness backfires is entirely up to how the other person feels about me.
Just don’t discuss discuss topics one deems as “myths, lies, fairy tales.”