I know nothing

August 3, 2020

know-nothingIt’s the thing about getting older–we get wiser. Usually. We realize we know less than we thought and in many cases we really know nothing.

At least that’s been true of me. I remember being in my early 20s and being far less able to take critical input than I am now. In fact, it didn’t occur to me that there was anything to be said about my absolutely perfect and knowledgeable work product. Or my life

Fast forward 45 years. Oh, how little I knew then. And now? Still, I know nothing.

I’ve always believed in the power of reason and logic. Today, though, that belief has been turned on his head, as otherwise smart people are unable to see what’s so obvious to me about the country and its leadership. I’ve given this much thought in recent months, because it seems so inexplicable. Many of you also struggle with this within your own families.

It’s easy to discount them as stupid or uncaring or ignorant, and in some cases, that’s true. But sometimes, we love them so we don’t want to do that. They are our nearest and dearest. What to do then?

What I’ve learned is that it’s impossible to convince someone to change an opinion that is forged out of the experiences that make up their world view.  If you’ve been raised to see the world around you as largely hostile threatening or out to take advantage of you, you will never be convinced otherwise. Ain’t gonna happen.

You might otherwise be a rocket scientist, but on this one thing? You won’t see logic or reason.

It’s deep. Gut level. Almost tribal.

So what do we do when we otherwise love them?

We continue to love them. We come from a place of understanding. We agree to disagree.

I’m not going to claim it’s easy. I’m also not going to suggest this approach is easy for those not in your circle of family. After all, I can be damn scrappy with people I don’t know who hold opposing beliefs to mine. (BTW, I’ve never changed anyone’s mind this way.) But still, our job is to love them.

However, I’ve only recently learned that when you have insight into how that person has come to their beliefs, when you really see them and feel them, it becomes easier to love them and let it go. I didn’t think it was possible. 

But now, I know that it is.

6 comments on “I know nothing
  1. LAURIE STONE says:

    A family member just hung up on another family member this week over Trump. You’re right, the feelings run deep on both sides. No one can understand how the other thinks or feels. I know I can’t.

    • I had a conversation this week that disturbed me so much. I could see theinfluence of Faux News propaganda and I felt terrible that this smart person had fallen for it. Sigh.

  2. Beth Havey says:

    I am about to re-enter a part of my life experience where I will be with people who I basically love but who have drunk the Kool AId. HELP. I might even ask to just stay away, read a book. I cannot change them. But why expose myself to the craziness, if indeed it enters the conversation. I could leave the room. I could get in my car and drive home. But bottom line: I am too experienced and have read too much truth to stand there and take it.

  3. Diane says:

    You are so right. We keep on loving them. My brother is a fine man. But leans so far to the right I think he is permanently bent. We avoid politics. If he gets on a rant, I try to pull him away into another topic. Mostly, I’m successful…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.