Every once in a while, while I mindlessly scroll through social media, I come across this message: If you support (fill in the blank), unfollow me.
Stumbling upon these posts on a friend’s, or relative’s, page not only makes one uncomfortable, but also makes me question, "Can one opinion really sever a close connection between friends and family?”
When I see people on social media preaching their beliefs in this fashion, it’s honestly suffocating. How can you tell people that you’ll block them for holding an opinion? Or that you’ll cut them out of your life if they dare disagree with you?
It feels like a slap in the face from the people I care about. Is my opinion really that important to you? And do you even understand why I have that opinion?
In the past, I’ve had conflicted feelings about these types of posts. While I respect their opinion, the same can’t be said for their delivery. Doing so makes it very clear that the creator isn’t open to discussion.
This close-minded thinking not only shuts down opportunities to learn, it also limits the view of both individuals. Choosing to ignore conflicting opinions traps you in an echo chamber that insulates beliefs, which increases the gap between opinions and further polarizes us.
Having integrity and standing by your beliefs are important qualities, but they can hinder a lot of personal growth. As a constantly developing human, you are not required to be rigid in your views.
I get it. It’s embarrassing to admit you were wrong. However, doing so is a sign that you're thinking critically and are willing to broaden your mind.
Growing up as a liberal in Texas forced me to develop an open mind. I couldn’t judge people on their opinions, because almost everyone I knew opposed my beliefs. My classmates, best friends, and even my partner were conservative.
Being in the minority, I was pushed to take an open-minded approach, and made it a point to learn more. Acknowledging the reality that others don’t think the same way I do was a difficult process. But, I came to realize their opinions were just as valid as mine.
The truth is you’re only hurting yourself by not considering differing opinions. Your positions are weaker without acknowledging the other side. You may even realize you have more in common than you think.
As students, we have a lot to learn from others before we settle into our own beliefs. Having an open mind means listening to others respectfully and being open to change.
So take down the passive aggressive posts and focus on connecting with the people around you, no matter their political opinions.
It doesn’t cost anything to listen to others, but it can mean the world to someone with beliefs outside of the majority.
Chiara Profenna is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have something to say about this? We’re dedicated to publishing a wide variety of viewpoints, and we’d like to hear from you. Voice your opinion in The Beacon.