Have you noticed the tension that rises during controversial conversations? The apparent crescendo of voice as one speaks over the other while discussing presidential elections? Or the slamming of doors as a teen angrily leaves a conversation with their parents, after an evident case of miscommunication?

There appears to be an increasing amount of intolerance in the world, in terms of speaking with one another. Communication is undoubtedly one of the most valuable innovations of mankind, a simple way to share with others. Although, it is not always as simple as it may sound.

As the world goes round, opinions and more opinions arise, therefore division occurs. With each opinion, one often believes that they are in the right and can easily be blinded from the perspective of others. As a result, this leads to increased tension, arguments, and dissension.

In the US, we are given the right to speak what we want, think what we want, and we can do this through communication. May it be speaking with your peers, your parents, posting on social media, or even writing blogs and articles; every person has the right to their own opinion.

What is degrading is when others take away those rights. People should not be able to strip that right from an individual, but through intolerance, refusing to listen, and lack of understanding, that right is often taken and voices are shut down.

By creating a world where differing opinions are listened to, intolerance is subsided, and meaningful conversations are started respectfully, mindsets can be shifted from listening with the intent to reply to listening with the intent to understand. With the shift of mindset, new perspectives are explored, innovative ideas are shared, and the world can advance through nuance and empathy.