In which I bring you a post about my experiences embracing different opinions.
Note- this was a guest post swap. Be sure to check out GirlRadio's blog and her post on my blog a little while ago.
Hello, readers of Nerd Glasses and Wanderlust! It’s Oakstar from Amazing Case of Wanderlust here
today. GirlRadio and I have been corresponding a lot through e-mail, and when we decided to do a post swap, we thought it would be a bit of a boring idea to just do, you know, a swap.
So, we bring you our newly created hashtag, and our posts that will be about embracing diversity and
My post, to start it off, will be about dealing with people’s differences of opinions. Being in high school and also very well in tune with the world around me through social media and the news, I have a lot of experiences that have to do with dealing with someone who has a different opinion than mine - about something more important than just a favorite color or book.
Through my experiences, I’ve learned a lot and I’ve grown to accept and embrace people’s different
opinions - while I may disagree with, or even, in very hard cases which I will get into later, be appalled by their opinions, I can still love and appreciate them as a person.
When I first went into the seventh grade, I was much younger in body and mind, and I hadn’t yet been introduced to people of many different belief systems, upbringings, and backgrounds.
Some important things to remember while disagreeing with someone:
-Stand up for your beliefs, but don’t shove them down someone else’s throat
-If someone else’s opinion is downright malicious or really not okay (ex: someone says they hate
everyone with a darker skin color), it is out of what you should deal with and you should talk to a
adult about it
-Be respectful while telling them you disagree
-If someone is really stubborn, it's best not to bring up controversial topics at all. If they are standing up for a view that is completely and utterly the opposite of your beliefs and values, it's best to put some space between you and them or keep topics light and fluffy
Situation: I’m in the girls’ locker room after gym on a Friday, and me and a friend I’ll call Laura have started a conversation about our new science topic, evolution. I mention how I find the topic truly
fascinating, how we’ve originated from apes. Laura scornfully replies, “Pshh. It’s so obvious we don’t come from monkeys. It’s stupid. They’re animals, we’re humans. We come from Adam and Eve.”
My reaction: “They’re not monkeys, Laura. And you think coming from monkeys is stupid? What about seven billion people coming from only two? It just doesn’t make sense.” Laura gives me an angry look.
What I should’ve said: “I disagree. I believe in evolution. It’s not cool that you’re dissing my beliefs.
That’s not respectful. I’m going to go now, bye.” This would’ve let her know that I don’t think it’s okay what she said, but I still get to be respectful, and I don’t stoop down to her level.
Lesson: Instead of attacking someone back and stooping down to their level, I’ve learned to keep my
calm and be the bigger, better person. I don’t speak to Laura as much anymore, but I still love her as the human being she is. I don’t mind if someone has different beliefs, but I can’t allow anyone to insult mine.
Situation: I’m talking to two of my close friends - Rachel and Kerry - in a quiet corner at our school dance.
Rachel’s drink spills. She swears under her breath and Kerry and I gasp. A few younger passersby chant, "She said the s-word!" repeatedly.
“Oh wait - oops. Girls shouldn’t swear. It’s not proper. Boys can get away with it," Rachel says quickly.
My reaction: I open my mouth to say something, but then close it again. I want to say something, but I can’t. I’m too appalled.
What I should’ve said: I’m a feminist, meaning I believe that women and men should be treated equally. I should’ve said what I wanted to say, stood up for what I believed. I should’ve said: “Sadly, that is what society thinks. I believe in equal treatment, though, and it makes no difference whether a boy or girl swears. Neither is polite, but the politeness doesn’t change.”
Lesson: I’ve learned to stand up for what I believe in. I won’t hide my true self anymore. I’m still friends with Rachel, but I look at her in a different way. If a feminist topic ever comes up again, I will be sure to say what I believe.
Situation: I’m in the library with Rachel and Kerry. Kerry is talking about how she adores the Rick
Riordan books, and she’s grown interested in Greek mythology because of them. She says how she
thinks he is super talented. Then, Rachel cuts her off and says: “No, he’s not. He’s not creative at all. He’s just stealing the creation of the Greeks. The money should be going to the Greeks.”
My reaction: I’ve never been a huge fan of the Percy Jackson series, but I still thought that he deserved the credit. “I disagree,” I said. “There are plenty of other authors who have used mythology in their books, too, and they are still creative. He works hard and his characters and situations are plenty creative. Plus, the Greeks that created what’s used in his works died a long time ago, and it’s not the property of their great great great grandchildren.”
What I should’ve said: I’m proud of what I said, and I stand by it. I was mature, not unreasonable, and I gave my opinion.
Lesson: If I give my opinion while holding my tongue at the same time, I can achieve a lot more satisfaction. Yay me!
Scenario 4: The Toughest, But The One I Am The Most Proud Of
Situation: It’s June 26th, and it’s a pretty good day for me because I’ve just heard America has finally legalized same sex marriage. I call my best friend the next day with the good news. She replies with a shrug, then goes on to say that she doesn’t really support same sex marriage, but she will never speak up against it because it is not her place.
My reaction: I’m surprised, but I tell her calmly: “I believe that love always wins and God would want people to marry who they want. I’m pretty passionate about this, but your friendship means way too much to me to get into an argument, especially when it is about faith and things so personal that will never change. I disagree with you, but I love you.”
What I should’ve said: This was the most difficult one for me. It was an ethical dilemma. Should I choose my best friend, who I love to death, who shares a super close bond with me and we have so many memories together, or do I choose to defend a topic that I believe so strongly in to the bottom of my heart? I chose the medium. I told her I disagree with her, and that it is a topic really close to my heart, but I chose to keep a precious relationship instead of ruin it. I am really proud of what I chose.
Lesson: There is a medium to strive for, and it is possible to find it. She and I are still just as close. Picking what’s important is hard, but it is possible to find a way to make it work. This may seem like a reflection on my actions, but even if your beliefs are different, there is a lesson in this for all of us. Even if you share Rachel’s and Laura’s beliefs, you can still choose to embrace the diversity, agree to disagree, and love each other just as much. Talking about personal things is tough, but even when you disagree, with respect and love, your relationships don’t have to change.
Next time you face a challenge similar to some of my scenarios, document it and reflect. I’m not perfect, but I’ve definitely improved on embracing diversity in the past year. If we all took something out of these lessons, the world would be a much better place.
Together we can strive for a world with more compassion and love, no matter what your beliefs.