Would you rather be right or happy?

Everyone believes they are right. Thanks, Captain Obvious, right? But when it comes to divisiveness, it’s because there are two or more sides to an issue, and each person is passionate about their side and unwilling to hear from the other side.

Yes, I’m talking politics. Yes, I’m talking religion. Yes, I’m talking human rights. Yes, I’m talking about child rearing practices. Yes, I’m talking about why your mother and sister aren’t on speaking terms.

The majority of people have authentic reasons for their beliefs and passion over issues. Even those who believe different than you do. I have a family member whose political beliefs are the exact opposite of mine. On surface level, I have a hard time swallowing how this person can see things they way they do. But when I dug a little deeper, I learned of experiences they had that I didn’t that led them to the beliefs they hold. I can’t deny them that.

I know the world is hard right now, and there’s so many things happening that are hard to swallow. It feels like people are more divided than ever; in many ways, they are. There are many things happening that are out of our control, or at least feel that way.

But I don’t think hope is lost. I think we can help improve the divisiveness of this world by doing one thing – LISTENING TO EACH OTHER. Instead of pointing fingers and dismissing others because their beliefs don’t line up with ours, we can instead approach each other with curiosity. Learn WHY someone believes a certain way. It doesn’t mean we have to change our own beliefs, but instead, it will allow us to at least recognize that other people’s experiences are different than our own.

The political policies you prospered under may have stripped away another’s comfort. The religion you are passionate about may have caused deep hurt for another. A person you love may have inflicted pain on someone else. A person you have a hard time liking is someone else’s saving grace. One person’s crime is another person’s way of survival.

We all come from different places, were raised differently, experienced different assaults on our personhood, and are broken in different ways. There are many different biases because people are too used to seeing life through their own lens and fail to pause and acknowledge the other lives around them.

My perfect world would be inclusive. It would be one where people actually SEE each other, acknowledge and celebrate each other’s differences, offer help to those who need it, accept help from those who have it, honor each other’s strengths, show empathy and grace for those suffering, and band together overall as members of the human race, thus erasing the lines that exist because of faith, politics, economics, race, gender, sexual orientation, education, culture, and every other human quality where we’ve inserted segregation.

I know it’s a Pollyanna view. I know it’s so big. But I don’t think it’s impossible. I think it starts with us, one person at a time. I believe it starts with letting go of convincing other people to see it our way, and start listening to why someone sees it their way. I believe it’s about letting go of trying to be the rightiest right person in the world, and striving for peace instead.

Because, would you rather be right, or happy?

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