Photo by Jeremy Thomas of Unsplash
“The easiest change to make is often the most difficult to see.”
In last week’s article, the expression “Benevolent ignorance” was used to describe how people can become excessively zealous in their personal beliefs and values (click here to read it). It commonly occurs when a person is so convinced their ideals are of utmost importance and altruistic that anyone thinking differently needs to change.
Why this happens is easily understood. When we believe something is offensive, incorrect, or wrong, there is a strong urge triggering us to do something about it. Depending on one’s idiosyncrasies, it could be as trivial as correcting someone’s grammar or as significant as demanding an apology for differing views.
What all this means is that most of us have convictions that because they’re based solely on utmost integrity, there is no logic that would dictate anyone would or should feel differently. In order to persuade any opposition, some develop skills which make their points of view seem to be the only intelligent choice while making any opposing views appear ignorant, futile, or worthless.
This is the enigma of the human condition. Everyone has encountered this kind of experience. Whether it was from a parent, teacher, or a host of other situations, we all have either tried to convince someone or have had others try to “set us straight”.
There is nothing wrong with having firm beliefs. It does, however, become a problem when those ideas are mandated or forced on others. We all want to believe, especially when it comes to moral, ethical, or even political beliefs, that ours are only done for the purposes of good. Nothing is self-serving or opportunistic and since the end goal is only the betterment of all, anyone opposing these beliefs is simply wrong.
Forcing anyone to change is never real change. At best, it’s appeasement and at worst, it is brainwashing. People change because they either see a need or they want to. The only person whom we really have the power to change is ourselves.
No matter how firmly you believe in your values, think for one moment if someone were as adamant about forcing you to change yours. No doubt your objection could be so vigorous that you’d defend it to your own demise. If that is your stance, what makes you believe others won’t do the same?
As human beings we are constantly changing. We are not the same person we were 5 years ago. If we are to be the best version of ourselves then the goal should be how we can change ourselves. Peer into the mirror of self-reflection. Get out the figurative microscope and scrutinize your own intentions and purposes. Ask questions that ultimately alter your journey because the best way to influence others is by setting a stellar example to which others would gladly follow. The one thing that is true is that each of us has that power to change.
Thanks to Jeremy Thomas for the beautiful photo. To find out more about him, click here. I look forward to your comments.