“What stupidity” – sometimes such thoughts visit each of us in communication with those whose point of view seems unreasonable. And we are also outraged by disgusting when neighbors in the area do not bother to clean up after their dog, who has planted a mine in the middle of the footpath, or throw garbage right out of the window.
As for those who litter, one can dream that they will be weaned from this at least with the help of fines. And the first one sometimes wants to “open their eyes” to the fact that the world is larger and wider than it seems to them, humanity – it is more difficult and it is not worth repeating other people’s judgments without subjecting them to meaningful analysis.
But can anyone forcibly change the point of view or the way of thinking of another person, especially if they are completely satisfied with everything? Obviously not, and you shouldn’t. What then can we do in such situations? It is in our power to share our judgments and thoughts with those who are not indifferent to us. And also – to influence a lot in ourselves.
Of course, blood type, race, nationality and many other innate characteristics remain with us for life. But how many perspectives open up for those who are ready to change their way of thinking.
Much has been written about the ability of the brain to create new neural connections – physiology confirms that we can indeed transform consciousness and habits. And instead of “remaking” someone else, they are able to become an example for him. To be that part of the world that has already become better thanks to our efforts.
Circles on the water
In the early 1980s, American sociologists formulated the Broken Windows Theory. In Russian, it is easiest to explain it by saying “a bad example is contagious.” If one window is broken in a building and no one has replaced it, then soon all the glass will be broken. If someone threw garbage in the park by the urn, then soon a mountain will grow there.
The water circles effect extends to “good deeds” as well. For example, thanks to this, volunteering became fashionable. Another example is a personal experiment, which has been repeatedly tested: if you stand up in a subway car and defiantly give way to an elderly person, the same is done in the next 10 minutes by someone else from the people sitting next to you, regardless of gender.
Start with yourself
What steps can you take to start changing the world? Stress Management and Social Relationship Consultant Beverly Flegsington provides 5 recommendations:
1. Examine your beliefs and biases. Understanding our own motives gives us the opportunity to choose how to react to a particular event or word. Everyone has biases as well as beliefs. And they can be “activated” by certain triggers.
For example, we are comfortable with the fact that others have different views on foreign policy issues, but we are instantly thrown off balance by the discussion of racial inequality. We need to understand why we “boil” and what inner strings or traumatic experiences touch these topics.
2. Become curious and open to information. Many people love to teach others. Isn’t it worth starting to think about what experience led a person to his life position, so different from ours? Why does he think so, how did this attitude develop? You should not agree with him in everything or adopt his opinion, but such curiosity will at least expand our own angle of view.
3. Pause before jumping. Or bite your tongue before words of condemnation erupt. Sometimes it is enough to take a few breaths and exhalations or close your eyes to give yourself time to react and reflect on it, as well as to decide what to say and what not to say.
If, even after a pause, you still want to say what immediately came to mind, there is always such an opportunity. But it is worth remembering that a minute taken or not taken in time for reflection can preserve or destroy a relationship.
4. Check your ego. What is more important – to keep friendship, love, family ties, or stay right? The need to always have the final say can sometimes be a defensive reaction and hide vulnerability and kindness, and sometimes it just indicates a bloated ego and disrespect for the opinions of others.
Whatever is hiding inside, outwardly such behavior repels people. And even if we are very often right, we should admit that others may be right, at least sometimes. Therefore, from time to time it is worth asking yourself: “What is the purpose of my statement – to assert or share?”
5. Look in the mirror. As soon as we are overwhelmed by the desire to fix someone else, change their mind or do better, it’s time to look in the mirror. Yes, there are people in the world whose IQs are much lower than ours. Whose opinions are the repetitions of what you heard on the Internet or on TV. People who are incapable of reflection or lack of empathy. But their shortcomings are much easier to see than your own.
The Gospel says: “Why are you looking at a speck in the eye of your neighbor, but in your own eye you do not notice the beam?” But you should not judge, scold and urgently remodel yourself. The most important thing is just to remember that the main people for whose words and actions we are responsible are ourselves.