You Should Educate Yourself on the “Other side” of Arguments

Photo by Marl Clevenger on Unsplash

Our current world is very different from the one our grandparents grew up in. Back then, you didn’t know everybody’s views on politics or controversial topics. Nowadays, however, people look for reasons to tell you about their opinions.

Discussions about politics and other controversial topics come up regularly in conversation. In today’s American society where there is such a divide when it comes to these topics, they are bound to come up frequently.

I want to clarify something right off the bat: No, the point of this blog is not me telling you what to believe. It is my goal to give you no indication of where I stand politically. I simply want you to walk away convinced that you should always look into the “other side.”

If I were to observe my life from an outside perspective I’d bet that a controversial topic of some kind comes up at least once per day during my social interactions. I’d also bet that if you were to reflect on your day to day that you’d also find you frequently participate in these kinds of conversations.

There are good and bad elements to this. While it is great that people enjoy talking about their viewpoints, a lot of times the information that people base their opinions on is not factually true. Think about the internet.

If you type in a controversial question or topic into Google, thousands of results will populate. Some of these results will be from reliable sources while some are not. Some will be fact-based while some will be opinion-based.

What about social media? Let’s take Instagram for example, there are over 1 billion monthly users or accounts on Instagram. False information spreads like wildfire. When one person shares something that seems to back up a belief of theirs, they share it before checking to see if it’s true.

I don’t believe that social media platforms fact-checking you and your posts is ideal. You should be fact-checking what you are sharing and verifying the information and its sources.

This is why looking into the other side of things is important:

One of the great things about America is that we have the right to freedom of speech; therefore we have the right to debate. One of the sad things about America’s current societal divide is the expulsion of civil debate.

One of the reasons that I attribute to this issue is that people don’t explore opposing viewpoints. You cannot have a real debate or understanding without understanding each side’s argument.

Would you go to an interview with only half of the information that you needed to sell yourself? Of course not. So why go into a conversation or debate with only half of the information on the subject?

You don’t have to be looking to change your mind, but you do need to be open to receiving new information. Don’t go into a debate or controversial conversation necessarily looking to change somebody’s mind, but instead go into that conversation with hopes of opening somebody’s mind. Maybe something that you say will spark their interest.

2. It builds your credibility and respectability

If there is one thing that nobody can stand it is someone who blindly spews what they think without any knowledge on the subject.

You, however, are not this type of person. You have personal views and understand why you have these views, but do you know why the other person views things the way they do?

Understanding why other people believe something or think the way that they do is important not only in controversial conversations but in all interactions. For example, let’s say that I am a saleswoman. Would I be able to sell my product or service well without educating myself on the competition? The answer is no.

You are much more likely to open minds if you can show that you have taken the time to educate yourself on more than just your viewpoint. It not only establishes you as reasonable and open, but also as wholesome.

Quit with the “educate yourself” responses opposing sides use against each other when they disagree. No, you’ve already done that and you are now able to prove it to them.

You, as the reasonable person that you are, want to attempt to understand others and their views.

3. All the information in the world is available to you

That phone in your hands or that laptop that you’re reading this on has all the information and more that you could ever hope to have access to. Utilize it.

It is not difficult to learn about opposing sides and viewpoints, you can do it as you are watching TV or working out. There are no excuses other than willful ignorance by refusing to study the other side.

4. It’s your duty, especially if you’re a voter!

When you make simple decisions in life such as “what brands do I want to support” you have reasoning behind it.

Make sure you have reasons to back up your decisions. This includes the candidate that you vote for.

Exposing yourself to opposing viewpoints, or the other side so to say is very respectable. It deepens your ability to learn about the world around you and connect with others. This gives you an advantage in forming your views and opening your mind. Understanding the other side doesn’t need to be a chore to you. Rather, it gives excitement to an existing passion.

By exploring other viewpoints, you are doing something that many others refuse to do. Doing this is something that will separate you from a typical person. It is easy and it is necessary, so just do it!

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Katherine Hinz

My goal in life is that at the end, I can say I lived it to the fullest! I am constantly looking to learn, experience and explore new things that’ll grow me.