Everyone is Biased
Updated: Apr 2
I, like half of the United States, have divorced parents. Seeing both sides on a regular basis, I was lucky enough to be met with love no matter the roof I was sleeping under. So in that regard, I could never ask for more. I have loving parents and I am forever grateful for that. Yet, through this love came a war. A war on who my parents wanted me to be, and let me start by saying, they wanted very different things.
My mom wanted me to know how to survive. She wanted me to be tough, strong, and the type of person who would never be pushed around. Alternatively, my dad wanted me to know how to live. He wanted me to be caring, safe, and the person someone goes to when they need to talk about their feelings.
Both parents loved me, I’m grateful for that, but with these different parenting goals came different rules. Their differences would seem to show in everything I did or did not do. From one saying to fight the bully and the other saying to tell a teacher. One believing in having closer friends, and the other in a closer family. One taught me to get dirty and play rough, while the other taught me to stay inside and keep warm.
As a child, all I wanted to do was make my loving parents proud. Yet this seemed impossible. No matter what I did I seemed to always be displeasing one or the other.
In response to this impossible task I started living two lives. I became two people. I would play differently, talk to different people, and react to things differently, all depending on the house I was living in for that moment. This was my life for quite some time, more than I would like to admit. Yet eventually it came to an end and the two conflicting worlds finally merged.
I still do not totally know what it was, but one day I simply started seeing what I was doing to myself. I realized the duality of my own personality. And I didn’t like it.
Eventually I collected myself and developed a singular Jake West. Through this process an amazing trait formed. I learned to keep an open mind. From years of seeing such different views it became clear that neither side was entirely correct. I learned there is no right or wrong in almost all debates and decisions, there are simply opinions. These opinions form from biased backgrounds and differing childhoods. They form from the limited knowledge we are taught and the limited information we learn. Depending on where we live and who we are raised by, this limited knowledge differs from person to person.
What I write for you right now is not a fact, but merely a biased opinion. A biased opinion that I hope to be as unbiased and as factual as possible, but an opinion nonetheless. What I have found in society is that we treat these opinions as if they are facts and then refuse to allow anyone to change or sway our unarguable facts.
I believe this is, without a doubt, one of the greatest mistakes our species is currently making in modern times. We are treating our opinions as facts and acting on them in certainty. We are discrediting people who have put just as much time and effort into their biased view as the person trying to discredit them. And all of this is limiting our ability to share knowledge and understand one another.
So, I have one request from this post: listen. Listen to your friends and listen to your enemies. Listen to your superiors and listen to your inferiors. Especially listen to your children and listen to your guardians. We must listen to one another because what everyone has to say is important. Everyone. There will always be something to take away from a conversation and there is always someone who can teach you a new bit of information.
We must understand that our views, our opinions and our thoughts are biased. We are all biased and we are all not completely correct on our view on the world. If we can learn this, then we can learn to truly listen. Once we begin listening we will be that much closer to seeing the ultimate truth and that much closer to seeing humanity come together. My childhood taught me this, and I hope one day your experiences will teach you this as well.
Image credit: nst.com.my