Lately, I’ve been consuming a lot of content related to natural living, slow living, and homesteading. Basically, I’m interested in old-fashioned ways of doing things like growing food, making cleaning products from natural ingredients rather than harsh chemicals, using what you have rather than buying new, gifting useful things instead of “stuff,” etc. I guess you can say, having a grandfather who was a farmer is finally catching up with me.
The other day while I was listening to a podcast about farmhouse life, the guest host went on a tangent about how she believes her second son never developed asthma because she’d refused to vaccinate him. Friend, my knee-jerk reaction wasn’t a positive one. My first thought was, “So even if what this lady is spouting were true (note: most reputable research studies do not support this claim), would she rather risk seeing her son in an iron lung with polio than have asthma? Is she serious?! Talk about confirmation bias!” After simmering down, my second reaction wasn’t nearly as caustic, but it still wasn’t great. I began questioning this niche I’ve been exploring and worrying–If I continue to explore this interest, will I come across more misinformation? Will people make false assumptions about me, thinking that I must also be against vaccines, feminism, or something else? Will they think I’ve gone crazy or feel judged because they aren’t into homemaking? Also, I no longer knew how to feel about the podcast’s guest host. She had seemed like a nice enough lady. I still really wanted to like her, but we disagreed on so many things.
As I was mulling things over, I recalled a documentary in which the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg shared a famous quote from her (also late) colleague, Justice Scalia. He said, “I don’t attack people. I attack ideas.”
The point is that in most cases, you can still be friends with or at least have a relationship with someone even if you don’t always agree with their lifestyle or opinions. It’s ok to have constructive discussions if need be, but it usually isn’t ok to shut someone out completely.
In the case of the podcast, the quote reminds me that I’ll have to take everything I hear with a grain of salt–to do research before accepting someone’s ideas as true or adjusting my lifestyle. After all, anyone can start a podcast, an Instagram account, or a YouTube channel. It doesn’t take a Ph.D., proof of research, or 20 years of experience. However, I am reminded not to be hateful towards anyone, and that it’s ok if I come across things that I don’t agree with as I explore my newfound interests. That doesn’t mean that I have to give up on them altogether.
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