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Listen and learn


Why being open minded is so vital

As we watch the news, listen to music, or even simply walk to our third period class, the voices and differing opinions of others seem to flood our surroundings. With so many perspectives in our daily lives, it should be simple to stand back from our own view for one moment to hear what another has to offer.

So why do we fall short?

Respect is something that is drilled into our minds on the daily, but our culture and personal beliefs seem to press against this virtue. We are brought up in different ways, by different people, with our own differentiating experiences that shape our views. We all know this, too. It is seen everywhere we go, even within our own community. And yet, we struggle still.

There’s no need to change your opinion to fit the “norm” or even to change just to have a conversation with someone of an alternate mindset. It doesn’t take an army to listen; all it takes is an ear and an open mind, something we all are capable of having and, more importantly, of putting to a good use.

“We have good reasons, and those reasons can — and should — be explained,” states a 2017 article from Aleteia, an online publication. They go on to explain how this situation is a two way street; we want our voices heard, too. But we must do so with the utmost respect, good intent, and caution.

“If they feel like we’re judging them,” the article continued, “or attacking what they consider to be their rights — and, above all, if they do not see that we love them — it’s very unlikely that they’ll listen to us.”

It’s easy to lose ourselves in the throes of society, focusing on the things that we individually find to be an issue. Whether it’s your view on gender, politics, race, or social status – all of which are echoed in the voices of modern life – there’s a reason why it is important to you and a rationale for why you think things should be the way they should.

But one of the undeniable issues – no matter where you come from, your background, or your own opinions – is the lack of unity within our society. We don’t trust each other. We don’t trust the news headlines, the words of political figures, or the words of our neighbors. We are nervous that others may not be the people that we expect them to be and, if they aren’t, we are often paranoid of what they may do if we let our guard down to try to understand them. Because of that fear, we feel our defensive side taking charge, telling us to stand up for our beliefs and take nothing less.

“The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

While standing up for what you believe is often considered honorable, it is just as ethical to attempt to understand where another comes from. It doesn’t mean changing your morals, changing your standards, changing who you are; it means leaving a little wiggle room in your mindset.

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force,” said Karl A. Menninger, a psychiatrist and founder of the Menninger Foundation. “The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

If we can step back from our own views for just one minute and see something through someone else’s eyes, we instantly feel a little closer to one another. We can trust each other a little more just knowing that our voices are heard and respected.

– The Crimson Staff

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