Obviously many are talking about the split between the UK and the EU right now. Until like 3 days ago I didn’t even know about it and was surprised when I heard what was going on. Once I learned about Brexit though, I was bombarded with many different opinions on the subject. It’s been very onesided so far, and I have yet to hear a British person explain it to me, but it is clear that a lot of European’s think that Britain just made a huge mistake, that the way they voted was plain wrong, and that it was stupid to leave.
I have to admit at first I gave in to all the negativity and agreed with those around me, but after learning a little bit more about it, and picking up bits and pieces on social media, I thought I have to hear both sides of the story before I can form an opinion.
I was born and raised in Germany, but I have lived in Scotland for a little over 1 1/2 years and then lived in the US for the past 12 years. I think because I have actually lived in different countries, and been around different cultures, it is easier for me to step back and give different sides a chance to share what they think because I learned how important it is to listen so I can fully understand why a person does what he/she does or why they think a certain way.
One thing that has been bothering me for the past years was how opinionated others are about things they know little or even nothing about. I have had several conversations with people (arguments even) in which outsiders were trying to tell me about OUR politics or things going on in OUR country and it was obvious they were trying to convince me that I had to change my mind and think like them. Ehm, excuse me, but who do you think you are? What gives you the right to tell someone who lives in the actual country, what they should vote, believe, think and feel? That person lives there and you don’t! They know better than you what is going on in THEIR own country. The best response (I am being sarcastic here) I ever got was that their media is more truthful than the media of our own country. I have to admit I was stunned for a moment that anyone could think that way, but apparently that is a pretty common opinion here in Europe. Wow. As far as I am concerned, today, you can’t really trust any media anymore because they will twist the truth as much as they have to, to make a story more exciting and “special”. It doesn’t matter where in the world you live, that happens everywhere. I believe that there are only a few journalists left who actually report the truth, but political correctness and all that garbage makes it even more difficult to be honest. The media seems to care more about a good story than the actual truth.
Each of us, who lives in a certain country, knows better than outsiders what is going on in that country. I have been away from Germany for so many years, I wouldn’t dare to tell them what they should think or feel, never mind getting involved in their politics. I don’t know enough to get involved. When you live somewhere you know what is happening and how decisions, your politicians make, effect you and what the results are for you. As an outsider you only hear what the media tells you, but you don’t know how it truly is for those who live there.
Britain voted and the people there made a decision. Whether it was a mistake or not is not for us to decide. We can have an opinion on the matter, but we should be open to listen to them as well (and I am talking about the actual people, not celebrities, the media or politicians). We don’t know why they voted the way they did and so we shouldn’t judge it. They had their reasons and instead of attacking them for what happened, maybe asking them why, would be the better way? If we try to understand their point of view, it might be easier for us to come to terms with it and who knows, you might even agree with them. Unless you walk in someone else’s shoes, and I mean you walk in those shoes and not ask another person to do it for you and then tell you what it feels like, you don’t know what it is like.
There are people out there that make uninformed decisions and vote based on what others tell them to do, but not everyone is like that. A lot of people do their research and vote (or decide) based on what feels good and right to them.
It is time for us to be more understanding. I think we can all agree that we wouldn’t want anyone else to tell us what we should vote, decide and think, so why do it to others? If we don’t want outsiders to tell us what to do, why is it okay for us to do it to them? Brexit might turn out as a bad thing, but it could also be a good thing for the people in Britain. Only time can tell and in the meantime we should make every effort to at least try to understand that there are people out there who think, believe and feel differently than we do. Tolerance goes both ways, you know. 😉 I always like to share the actual meaning of the word tolerance since so many people don’t seem to know it: Tolerance is the willingness to accept behavior and beliefs that are different from your own, although you might not agree with or approve of them.