By: Miranda Mowery, Columnist
Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.
I think life gets a lot easier once you realize that it will forever be a mystery. Life is not black and white. It’s infinite shades of gray, full of maybes and graffitied in question marks. There are very few things that are absolutely certain but so many people these days act like they are enlightened beings, able to clearly judge what is right and wrong, when it is a lot more complex than that. I challenge you to change your mindset, and here’s how.
We consider what we consume on Snapchat news or TikTok to be irrefutable scripture and we chalk our exes up as evil people with nothing but bad intentions. We can’t even have intellectual discussions anymore without shunning the opposing view for being racist, ignorant, sinful, or uneducated.
It is uncomfortable to recognize the challenge in finding clear answers in life. As humans we have strong opinions about social problems, dating preferences, how we like our coffee and whether pineapple belongs on pizza. It is comfortable to simplify a complex issue and label it as strictly good or strictly bad.
But as young people we have a unique opportunity to adapt our ideologies and identities; to shape our perspectives by immersing ourselves in different situations and environments. If you are like me and find value in trying to understand this crazy world, having an open mind and trying new things is necessary.
It is also crucial to challenge everything we hear and consume through the media or people we surround ourselves with. Even if it is an ideology or belief that we normally support or agree with, questioning even our most strongly held credences is integral to seeing the world through a clear, unbiased lens.
Arming yourself with an open mind and ever-questioning outlook on the world not only applies to politics and social issues, but all other facets of life as well. Open your mind to dating someone you would not normally date, order grilled octopus when you really want the chicken tenders basket, ask your roommate about why she is addicted to “The Bachelorette” when you would rather shove a letter opener through your eyeball than watch that show. You might just learn something.
The world is so full of hate at the moment. We have been so divided the last couple of years and it is not just one group of people’s fault. It is all of our responsibility to try to understand our neighbors and constantly reflect on our own biases and prejudices in order to attain true peace with one another.
“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart,” Anne Frank wrote, after spending 761 days hiding from Nazis.
There are a lot of amazing people in this world. Believing that people are good at heart is key in trying to better understand their perspective. We cannot continue to view people, ideas or organizations as strictly bad or strictly good anymore.
So take a risk, get uncomfortable, and give the world a chance. You might not expect what you will find when you do.