Current events have had me in a flux.
“Is he right?”
“Is she right?”
“Does it matter?”
I strongly consider myself non-political. Not because I don’t care about topics, or because I don’t have opinions or beliefs to share, but solely because having compassion, understanding, knowledge, experience, something to say, or any other plethora of addendum, isn’t enough anymore.
I am seeing the United States of America becoming less about a people and more about a person. But this isn’t out of selflessness or genuine attention. We as a society have relinquished our ability to relate to each other, and as such our attitudes towards trust, honesty, authenticity, and patriotism are forever varnished.
I have a difficult time with the “he said she said” argument because one fundamental aspect for me is currently flawed: how on earth can I vet or honestly know what either side is? If being honest weren’t a problem, and everyone innately possessed integrity and exercised it, then every time two people disagreed or presented opposite sides they both knew to be the truth, the process would be exponentially easier to incorporate and the reality more straightforward to solve. I understand this is the ideal, and frankly, inaccessible in today’s world. However, I believe it’s inaccessible purely because people have chosen to be separate from honesty.
My question around people anymore isn’t, “How do I know they’re lying?” Rather, I find myself wondering, “How do I know they’re telling the truth?”
I find the truth to be fascinating. It is far more interesting than a lie. The truth creates awkward moments, joyful ones, people have to stretch themselves and grow, new limits are discovered or achieved, etc. Lies only destroy and build a false foundation. What is the fun in that?
Am I one hundred percent truthful? Unfortunately no, I’m not. However, rather than spread lies, I am training myself to speak the truth, and if I feel like lying, to instead keep those words to myself and not speak them until I’m prepared or need to. But, I value the challenge in truth. I value the experience it provides me every single unique time. I value the person it allows me—and sometimes forces me—to become.
But a person is complicated. We can make judgments and assessments about someone else all we want, and inevitably we only scratch the surface. So how, then, do we adequately and righteously judge another person? Sadly, I don’t have the answer. I do, however, have some thoughts that have helped me over the years.
I’m not a strongly skeptical person, but I do possess a natural ability to question. I love questions. So when I’m talking with someone, I will ask myself questions about what they’re saying to see where I stand or how I stand. I used to worry so much about others. But now, I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter to me if they’re lying or telling the truth. That’s actually on them, and not something I should be putting my attention towards. Instead, I can only work with what another person gives me.
Does that mean I go in blind? No. Does that mean I refuse to or withhold my trust? No. All it means is that until that person, myself, new information, or the situation changes to provide me with a different understanding, I am left with what I have. Other people need to be responsible for themselves, and if they choose to lie, eventually it will come to light.
But the more we talk ourselves out of trust, obviously, the less we’ll have. The more we convince ourselves that things won’t change, the more it won’t.
What’s the harm in exercising hope and action in someone else?
The last thing I’d like to add to this is the response to someone else’s words. We know that the world is overly offended and increasingly defensive. We see over and over how when a particular situation gains traction and is spun or shown in overwhelming favor of one or limited factions, those factions will then wield it with blind ferocity until it no longer serves their cause. Unfortunately, again, things aren’t always so simple.
Why are we so eager to ignore more than one avenue of a narrative? Why are we hoping with all that we have that someone will turn out to be what we feared, or worse, who we wished we could hate? Where does that put us at the end of the day?
We are not experts at detecting the lies or the sincerity of a person just because we live in the twenty-first century and have the internet at our fingertips. Education, technology, religion, science, privilege, opportunity, status, or desire, do not give us a pass when it comes to listening, righteousness, forgiveness, active and engaged behavior, love, research, and most important: the ability to say that we are wrong.
I am not able to thoroughly vet a person every time I meet them, talk to them, hear them speak, or watch them behave. Sometimes they make it clear, but the majority of the time my understanding is limited. This means I can only make the best decision I am able to at that time until I decide to adjust my position and take action. But I have to remember that I can be wrong.
Have we honestly forgotten how different people are from each other? Are we really so ignorant that we hear someone speak and can immediately jump to conclusions? Have we indeed figured out a human being so finitely that we can erase any supposed doubt or hesitation in them at all?
How foolish do we have to become until we realize we’re not as smart as we think we are, and all people are innately working to achieve the same things?
Now, does this automatically give people a pass to commit atrocities and take advantage of people? Absolutely not. Does this mean that I have to bend over and walk blindly into any and all parts of life? I sure hope not. Life requires action and purpose, none of which will happen from passive acceptance.
I just wish we could learn to see without the blinders on.