How Are You Supposed To Figure Out Your Political Beliefs?

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By David

Figuring out what your political beliefs are can be a challenging but rewarding process. It’s a chance to learn more about the different political ideologies and theories, and to explore your own values and principles.

Of course, because politics digs into those topics that really matter and dictate our lives, in some cases they may even determine the quality of our daily experience and how free we are to make certain decisions, these debates can become tremendously heated.

You need only look to any trending hashtag on Twitter to see how political discussion can quickly become toxic, and frankly, quite tiresome. Moreover, political discussion needs to be mediated properly, because as we’ve seen from… well, the whole of history, political disagreements can sometimes bubble up into conflict.

Thankfully, large-scale battles are much rarer than they used to be, but being dogpiled on social media may feel as if you’re under siege all the same. The best adage to follow is that listening twice as much as you speak will always be the best way forward.

But what if you’re not sure exactly what you believe in the first place? We’ll discuss that, below:

Here are some steps you can take to figure out what your political beliefs are:

Educate Yourself On The Different Political Ideologies And Theories

The first step to figuring out your political beliefs is to educate yourself on the different political ideologies and theories. This might involve reading books and articles, watching videos and documentaries, or attending lectures and seminars. By learning more about the different political ideologies and theories, you’ll be able to understand the different perspectives and arguments that shape political discourse.

Just be careful that you don’t fall into the obvious problems involved with only listening to one side. Anyone can formulate a reasoned argument, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily backed by concrete science or in-context information. The best way is to gather news from a range of sources and to understand what bias each outlet has, so you can come to a more reasoned understanding. Also, remember that just because something is partisan, it doesn’t mean it’s incorrect, just one side of a larger truth. Use evidence, sources, and facts to guide you.

Explore Your Own Values And Beliefs

Once you understand the different political ideologies and theories, the next step is to explore your own values and beliefs. This might involve reflecting on your own experiences and perspectives, and considering what issues and ideas are most important to you.

For example, you might value individual freedom and responsibility, or you might believe in the importance of social justice and equality. By exploring your own values and beliefs, you’ll be able to gain clarity on what you stand for and what you care about.

However, don’t think that just because you agree with one issue on a certain spectrum of the political landscape, you have to agree with every single position that follows from that. For instance, you might agree with some level of societal gun control, but also wish to consider how to restore gun rights. Nuanced opinions are usually the healthiest.

Consider The Different Political Parties And Candidates

After you’ve explored your own values and beliefs, the next step is to consider the different political parties and candidates. This involves researching the different parties and candidates by examining their platforms, policies, and positions. By considering the different political parties and candidates, you’ll be able to see how they align with your own values and beliefs, and to identify the parties and candidates that most closely represent your views.

Don’t feel disheartened if no one out there seems to represent you. Who knows, perhaps one day you’ll run for office yourself! That said, throwing your support behind someone often means compromising, and being realistic. It also means accepting you might not have all the answers. In some cases, it means feeling completely baffled as to how certain people managed to achieve office. It’s just part of engaging with the political landscape.

Engage With Political Discourse And Debate

Another important step to figuring out your political beliefs is to engage with political discourse and debate. This might involve participating in political discussions and debates with others, or following political news and commentary. By engaging with political discourse and debate, you’ll be able to learn more about the different perspectives and arguments that shape political discourse, and to develop your own opinions and ideas.

Consider the healthiest outlets for this. We’ve mentioned Twitter in this article, but you’ll most likely find out within five minutes that it’s not a good place to discuss ideas, it’s a place to ferment conflict. Be wary of social media where that’s concerned. More dedicated forums or debate clubs can be better.

For example, the subreddit r/NeutralPolitics is actually quite a healthy, well-moderated forum for people to discuss a range of topics in good faith. Moreover, it allows you to be anonymous to really explore your perspectives and also your flawed views without pushback onto yourself. Of course, you don’t plan to say anything out-there, but it can be easier to convey honesty and discuss the tough topics when you know you’re safe from personal blowback.

Be Open-Minded And Curious

As you figure out your political beliefs, it’s important to be open-minded and curious. This means being willing to listen to and consider different perspectives and arguments, and to challenge your own assumptions and beliefs. By being open-minded and curious, you’ll be able to learn more about the different political ideologies and theories, and to develop a more nuanced and informed understanding of politics.

Being open-minded sometimes causes you to realize you were deeply incorrect about a subject, which is never a nice feeling. It shows maturity and growth to accept that however, so don’t feel bad for going through this process.

This next part will sound rather bizarre for a post discussing how to understand your political positions more clearly – but it’s okay not to have an opinion on everything. You’re just one person, you don’t have to shoulder the world. This doesn’t mean we have to be wilfully ignorant, but it does mean that you might not contribute everything to every issue all of the time. You need only look online for five minutes to see thousands of people who live like that, and it can be exhausting to witness. We question how much the people caught in that cycle are actually learning.

Be Willing To Change And Evolve

Finally, it’s important to be willing to change and evolve as you figure out your political beliefs. This means being open to new information and experiences, and to adjusting your beliefs and positions as you learn more. By being willing to change and evolve, you’ll be able to continue growing and developing as a person, and to adapt to the changing political landscape.

This last point is so crucial, after all. The political landsacpe of fifty years ago was different to the politics of today. Most people today would accept that gay marriage is a necessary right that simply makes sense – why would we want to deprive LGBT individuals of confirming their vows with the person they love? But it was only in 2015 that the US Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage. As of the time of this writing, that is less than eight years ago. As you can see, times change, and so don’t be afraid to change appropriately with them.

Try And Contribute To A Cause You Believe In

You get to decide how involved you become within a particular cause. But it can be a good feeling to do your civic duty and try to push in the direction you wish to see society go. If you feel good about a political party, canvassing for them could be ideal. Being part of a union or a political membership party can help you express yourself through that lens too.

Of course, you might care about specific issues, such as caring about internet privacy thanks to your career in the tech field, or perhaps you want to stand up for stronger domestic abuse laws. It feels good to push for something you care about, because you can at least say you were there, living by your values, and apologizing to no one for it. If you genuinely hold that belief, then you deserve to express it providing it doesn’t call for harm of course. It’s not guaranteed that we all live in a society where expressing our opinion is permitted, in fact, many are unable to offer theirs all over the world. So exercising that right is always a healthy thing to do.

To conclude, figuring out your political beliefs is a process that involves educating yourself, exploring your own values and beliefs, considering the different political parties and candidates, engaging with political discourse and debate, being open-minded and curious, and being willing to change and evolve. By taking the time to explore your political beliefs, you’ll be able to develop a more informed and nuanced understanding of politics, and to participate more effectively in the political process.

Just make sure not to make this 100% of your life; as there’s much more to living than petty political squabbles. Look for substance where you find it, outside of scoring points on social media. It will give you political longevity and help you keep your reason in the best way.