I was contemplating the other day the biggest problem in this world is everyone’s set ways of thinking, our rights, and wrongs. If not everyone, most people are working so hard to change the thinking (mind) of others around them. Sometimes very bluntly, sometimes very subtle. And this is not only limited to individual relationships, this calamity exists at every level, be it religion, culture, social structure, financial system, or political system.
Take for example, for decades the US government paid and spent billions and trillions of dollars trying to convert other countries’ political systems because they thought the democratic system is the best for everyone in the world. Then Russians and Chinese tried to do the same to promote Communism in many countries around the world. Christians trying to make Muslims and Jews believe in Jesus Christ, and Muslims want you to believe in Quran and Mohammad’s philosophy. Hindus think their philosophy is the best in the world and so do Buddhists. People of different cultures think they are the most culturally advanced community. Take, for example, even within India, Bengalis, Marathis, Kannada, or the people of the Hindi speaking belt, they all will give you tens of examples as to why they are the most cultured and artistic community.
You can extend the same logic to relationships. And the relationships can be of any kind, be it spouses, siblings, parents, children, boyfriend, girlfriend, or just friends. Relationships make or break where two people think or don’t think alike. Where they don’t think alike, there is a constant unspoken battle that goes between the two. Rarely you will see two opposing thinkers loving and living happily, or at least constantly bickering; they will be like the US and the old Soviet Union during the Cold War era. (Now, don’t claim you are fine, that means you are the one who is trying to control the other mind.)
For years, Putin is forcibly trying to convince Ukrainians to think like him otherwise he will kill thousands of people who don’t agree with him. Through his lies and political maneuvering, Trump convinced millions of Republican Party voters to think there was election fraud.
So why is it important that we make others think like us? Because it gives us the feeling of attaining power. If I win a debate, that means I am more powerful than the other person, verbally and logically speaking. When one controls the other person’s mind, they feel powerful in their own small world. Putin makes Ukrainians agree with him, it gives him the power that he so desperately seeks. Trump seeks power in everything he says or does.
But if we take this reasoning to a personal level, in relationships, it may not seem like a power struggle but it really comes down to the power. Usually, one person gives in to the other, only then the unspoken battle ends. The power superiority is usually determined by who is dominating the other person’s mind and thus their behavior. In a husband-wife relationship, a husband or wife may decide to voluntarily give in to the other’s thinking to make their relationship peaceful at home, and it wouldn’t matter how powerful they are in their world outside of their relationship. A president of the United States may easily give in to their spouse’s way of thinking at home while they persuade other country’s heads to change their political system.
The real problem is that we are so set in OUR way of thinking that we find it easier to change another person’s thinking than our own. In that process, often we end up sacrificing truly meaningful relationships; and in extreme cases end up killing thousands of human beings; because we cannot change our thinking. Because, then, we lose our power over the other. We lose the cold war.
Think about it again….
Disclaimer: Yes, I am also one of those who try to influence others’ thinking. This is in no way a self-absolution.