I’ve done a great deal of thinking, journaling, and praying over the question of what my ‘deal breakers’ are when it comes to differences in beliefs. I generally consider myself a tolerant person, or at least I try to be. I pride myself on having friends of all kinds of religious and political backgrounds. I enjoy friendly debate about controversial issues, and learning others’ perspectives.
But as my depression worsens, I’ve had to make some difficult decisions in the name of mental health. I debated cutting ties with certain friends based on the amount of time I’ve known them – some since elementary school – but people don’t remain the same forever. I know I’ve changed, and so have they: to a point where compatibility is no longer possible.
I fear becoming the stereotype of a closed-minded liberal who wants to exist in an echo chamber – so much that I’ve made my mom, brother, and husband (the people who know me best) promise to call me out if it seems like I’m headed in that direction. I have never required people to agree on every little thing in order to have some form of relationship with me.
But in the wake of the election, I’ve come to realize that it’s not differences of opinion that bother me – it’s the refusal to form opinions based on facts. It’s the unwillingness to reexamine one’s beliefs when there is evidence to the contrary. Most of all, the refusal to admit one can be wrong about something is one of my biggest pet peeves to date. No one likes being wrong, and admitting to it is even harder. But Jesus taught the importance of humility, and some of the most outspoken Christians on social media refuse to consider that the politics they support might be causing more harm than good.
I want to keep my list of “relationship deal breakers” as short as possible. I don’t want to be angered by every little difference in opinion. But lately, I’ve realized that I can’t maintain friendships with people who think I kill a child every month because I take birth control. I can’t feel safe around people who think my faith is illegitimate because I believe in gay rights.
Most of all, I can’t maintain respect for people who listened to a presidential candidate brag about sexual assault, and still determined him to be the lesser of two evils. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. I’m hurt. I’m angry. And relationships that trigger my PTSD are not ones worth preserving.