Reader opinion Disagreement is not always polarizing

By appealing to polarization, we can become blind to what is really going on in our human relationships close to us.

Pseudonym A mother who was young in the 1980s (HS Opinion 1.6.) raised the need to talk about polarization within families as well. The young adult’s mother had even been left alone at a cafe table to sit because of differing views.

The experience of being ignored is sure to always hurt. However, this goes in both directions. If one’s own views repeatedly cause another person to react retreatingly, is there anything in them that hurts or offends another? The threat makes us curl inward. On the other hand, if we feel that we are respected and accepted, it is easier to be open-minded and understand the other.

In our closest relationships, of course, we love each other, and that’s why talking within a family can feel more awful than two. We may not notice at all that any comment we consider neutral seems to invalidate another person’s core values. This can feel like ignoring your own identity and self-definition. Our minutes, for their part, are built on different values, political identities and social identities.

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The experience of ignoring, no matter how unintentional, can make a person ask themselves, though not necessarily consciously, whether another person really loves him or her unconditionally. Finding out the answer can be so grueling that we would rather walk out of the situation than face the truth.

So it would be good to stop to think about the experience that makes another person look elsewhere. By appealing to polarization, we can become blind to what is really going on in our human relationships close to us. Distant and abstract phenomena are often easier to face than problems very close to oneself. In addition to social analysis, it would be bold to just look the other person in the eye and ask what is important and valuable to you and how I could respect it.

Roope Grönroos

student of social psychology, University of Tampere

The reader’s opinions are the speeches written by HS’s readers, selected and delivered by HS’s editorial staff. You can leave a comment or read the principles of writing at www.hs.fi/kirjtamielipidekirjoitus/.

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