It is difficult for people to change their positions. It's hard because it makes them anxious: "If I thought and acted this way in the past, and some people convinced me to change my position, then I implicitly admit that I was wrong in the past. Then I lose all credibility when today, I try to defend my new positions."
When sometimes, the necessity of reality still brings me to change my positions and perhaps 180 degrees, I hide behind the saying that only fools never change their minds. If we analyze the sentence for a second, then if you say I was then stupid or now, I answer that you are dumb because you never change your opinions.
To protect against the anxiety we talked about, there are several methods and, likewise, there are different types of characters:
- The weak character, who is willing to agree with everything he is told, changes his mind like he changes socks, the more critical for him being that people leave him alone.
- The stubborn one solves the problem of anxiety by never changing his mind. It does not matter that in order to strengthen his views, he must use increasingly illusory and detached arguments from reality that only convince him.
In my opinion, the middle way is the right one. As I wrote in the post "Being yourself": "Be yourself while listening to others." The price you have to pay for this is to live in constant anxiety and face the stupid people that will tell you: You did not think so yesterday!
All of the above is true for a wide range of topics:
- Which team is better: Maccabi or Hapoel? That will determine which fan (burned fan) you will be. - Which party will tell the truth (and you reject with disgust any parasitic thought such as: "Maybe there is also truth both in what the left-wing and the right-wing says) - The decision to cut ties with a person or with an entire group ("He / They are so and so and this) - Finally, I will tell two anecdotes that illustrate what I have written. The first anecdote illustrates that a person's character determines much more than the arguments you provide to convince him that his views are incorrect. If you internalize this, you will see that it will be much easier for you to persuade a stubborn person, for example, to change his position on a particular issue. (In this case, if you understand that you do not have to think about proving to him that his opinions are not correct but need to think about how you can change his mind without harming his dignity.
My cousin Patricia married a brilliant, assertive, and even aggressive and communist lawyer 35 years ago (He almost "ate me alive", about the Palestinian problem when he heard I was from Israel). Because of this, he began his career by defending workers who, for example, were fired from their jobs. He has had success in this role. The problem is that because, in addition to all the trouble, he forgot to be stupid, he very quickly realized that he could have earned much more if he had represented the bosses ... this is what he does today with a great deal of success. Of course, he is no longer a communist, but he is still aggressive. (Opinions have changed, but the character remains)
The second anecdote addresses the problem of constant anxiety when taking the intermediate path. France, my ex-wife, two days before she left me, cursed at my mother as she often did. In response, I told her (quietly) that my mother was a kind of piano prodigy when she was a child, she was accepted to the Paris National Conservatory at the age of 15, who finished it with first prize in solfege and second prize in piano and could have become a great pianist had she not decided that it was incompatible with raising children. I added that she was Perlmutter's most talented student. "Maybe the name Perlmutter won't mean anything to you, but Perlmutter himself was Ravel's most talented student!" She replied to me: "To be equilibrated, it is also to know to be an idiot!". (She kept telling me that I was not equilibrated in my mind, and the truth is that there is something true in that: I am anxious because I always wonder if I am right). I later had the opportunity to talk about this story with Fred, my psychiatrist cousin. I told him, "What she said about my mother was really nonsense, but in her last sentence ("Being balanced, it's also knowing how to be stupid"), she was really right! He nodded. I asked him, 'How do you say that in polite language?' ". He replied to me:" You need to know how to accept yourself! Since then, I try to accept myself. I noticed that only if I accept myself. The others will accept me.
To sum up, an opinion is like any habit: it is a thought pattern that is difficult to break free from because it causes anxiety. On the other hand, we have to deal with it. (See the posts: "How to deal with anxiety" and "How to live a change in habits imposed on us?") Sometimes it is better to swallow saliva and admit - not that we made a mistake, but that circumstances have changed than to continue to live by habits and thought patterns lost.