Your Opinion Is Not My Reality

Election Parties


I’ve borrowed a quote from Dr. Steve Mariboli as the title of this blog as it pretty much sums up my thoughts on the slanging matches that have occurred in the media since the election.

I have so far refrained from blogging about the election results.  Of course I voted and therefore have feelings about the result.  My husband will tell you that I can be very opinionated, sometimes blindly so.  I’m a Capricorn (we can get very feisty), he’s a Libran (irritatingly calm and balanced).  I found myself getting really quite worked up about all of the comments flooding Facebook. My reactions were getting quite heated, I’m ashamed to say now, so I had to stop looking at my Facebook page and the news for a few days.

I won’t say whether I’m happy or disappointed about the election results because this blog is not about which colour should or shouldn’t have won the election.  This blog is about a valuable lesson a friend taught me this week.  She has stopped me in my opinionated tracks and changed the way I think and I really hope this blog might do the same for others out there still feeling heated about the election.

The aforementioned friend is very passionate about politics.  It’s no secret that we voted for completely opposite parties.  She knows who I voted for and some of my views and I know hers and we are both quite open about it.  Despite our differing views we remain friends and are able to have a laugh about it.

Yesterday at school pick up we had an honest chat to reassure each other that we would not be offended by anything the other one said about politics and that we weren’t personally attacking each other.  In fact, rather than brushing her views away as ridiculous I actually began to enjoy hearing her ideas and learning from her.  I find her thoughts on the subject enlightening.  I learn something new from her in every conversation we have.  She has really good reasons for why she voted the way she did and I can’t argue with them because I have not lived her life.

I’ve have come to realise (and I really wish other people would realise the same thing) that being angry with each other about the way we voted, or which party will run the country for the next five years is futile.  Voting isn’t really about choosing a particular person because you believe in everything they are doing.  It’s not a war where one side of the country is wrong and one is right.  The fact is that when someone votes, they are truly voting for what is right for themselves or their family at that particular moment in their life.  So really when we vote we are actually all voting for the same thing and we need to acknowledge this fact.  We are all voting for a way to improve our lives.  That is the core of each and every person’s decision when they put that cross in the box.  The problem is that we are all living different lives!  When we vote against a party policy it isn’t because that policy is definitely wrong, it is just wrong for our life at that time.

We therefore cannot criticise each other for the way we voted because we can only live our own life.  Until we walk in our neighbour’s shoes we can’t judge them for there opinions.  All we can do is know that their choice was what was right for them.

So all those comments saying “oh well done UK, you’ve ruined the country now,” or “how could you vote that way you idiot” are useless.  People don’t vote because they think they are going to save the country or ruin the country, they don’t vote to piss their fellow voters off, they vote for their own tiny network of friends and family and therefore however they voted must be seen as right.

Life can change in the blink of an eye.  Someone who is doing okay at the moment might suddenly lose their job and have to start claiming benefits.  Maybe they voted Blue in the election because it was best for them when they had a good job and were supporting their family, but if they lose their job and need benefits then they might choose to vote Red next time because their circumstances and their priorities have changed.  Likewise someone who is struggling in life and really needed the benefits not to be cut might win the lottery (we can all dream!) and then their priorities will change too.  Next time they might vote for the party that will give them better interest rates!  We don’t know what we are going to need for the rest of our lives so we can only vote for what is right for us at the time.

What we should be saying to each other is just “well done for voting at all.”

Don’t judge friends that are upset about the result and say “your party’s ideas were rubbish anyway and would have ruined the country.”  That’s not going to help anyone.  Listen to the reasons why they voted the way they did, because I can assure you, you will learn something about a friend that you never knew.  Likewise don’t criticise a friend for being happy about the result, it doesn’t make them a bad person!  Ask them why they voted that way and again you will learn something from them.  There is nothing wrong with someone saying “my life is going ok at the moment and I want it to stay that way for as long as possible.”  There is nothing wrong with someone saying “we are really struggling and we need more help in these areas and that’s why we voted for…….”

We must be sympathetic and understanding to one another and remember that everyone’s vote was the right choice for them.  It might not have been the right one for you, but you aren’t living your friend’s life.  We must stop shouting and start supporting each other and our understanding of life will grow and our lives will be richer for it.

Here’s a lovely quote from Don Miguel Ruiz that sums it up perfectly:

“Don’t take anything personally.  Nothing others do is because of you.  What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.”  

Rant over, better get on with the novel now!  Have a good weekend everyone and I promise the next blog will be light hearted!