The infamous phrase ‘Please, no politics at the dinner table’ often comes to us as a warning.
We begin to reconsider sharing our opinion freely to avoid a political showdown in the household. Some even consider the phrase a simple step to survival.
Discussing politics can be as damaging as strengthening to relationships, probably because issues are seen in multiple frames. But the way we see things stem from the experiences we encounter. It all begins at self-expression, what one perceives their values to be, the current state of mind, and feelings which altogether become a drive to shape a particular point of view. We begin to establish our own reality - one we tend to protect vigorously, which can disrupt a connection.
We are attracted to simplicity and certainty. So, we search for supporting evidence to back up our opinion and dismiss anything that may contradict it, providing us with the comfort we seek. People fill in the gaps of their biases to create a preferred reality to achieve moral superiority and gain pleasure because no one likes their self-perception threatened. It is a coping mechanism. Individuals use motivated reasoning to avoid feeling mental discomfort when they come across contradictory information. They lean towards the mental shortcut of dismissing the information rather than re-examining it because it is considered hard work.
The constant wanted need for certainty, and social feeling of being right establishes divisions in society and begins to affect relationships or how one views another. There are two ways of interpreting the influences politics has on relationships. Person one would argue that no one intends to create a long-lasting bond with someone whose politics they despise because no mutual understanding of the world can be achieved. Person two considers political indifferences a strength in relationships because it allows them to search for common grounds and constructively challenge one another.
When living in a constantly changing world, the ability to remain open-minded is a quality praised. It’s a way of keeping up without limiting knowledge. And, although it may seem hard work because stepping out of the comfort zone is not always at preference. The challenge expands intellectual capability allowing the individual to become more accepting and tolerant of others. Acquiring a greater insight into the world through the enrichment of each other’s opinions – somewhat brings us closer to reaching a mutual understanding that we long search for.
Think. If everyone shared your opinion, what would the world be like?
This article was originally written for SONDER THE GAME Magazine. We highly encourage you to check out their platforms and give it a shot in playing their meaningful card game. Not only does it give you an unusual opportunity for discussion but enhances you to deeply practice self-reflection, marking the experience a one to remember!
Wiktoria Walkowiak, a recent graduate from City, University of London, and a current Medical Journalist for a private healthcare clinic. Soon to reside in the Middle East to continue her performance in journalism.