It’s that time of year again, where many of us devote a little time and attention into paying tribute to those who have given their lives within the armed forces. There seems to be more and more debate surrounding whether or not we should wear a poppy for remembrance day and what exactly this symbol means.
The poppy symbol seems to be of increasing contention, as the opinion that the symbol serves to glorify war and violence has gained some traction, along with the idea of wearing a white poppy to promote peace. This alternative poppy, while promoting peace in theory, has not been without controversy.
These mixed opinions are shown in this year’s poppy appeal. According to Consumer Intelligence research, one in five adults are unlikely to wear a poppy this year, but a third of the population say they will be giving more to support The Royal British Legion appeal.
So, how can we bridge the divide this year?
Listen to alternative opinions. Going a little deeper past hearing only to prepare our argument, active listening allows us time to truly absorb and understand what another person is saying.
Share our experiences. Telling and showing others parts of our past, our history, and what makes us who we are helps us to understand ourselves better while also helping others to understand us.
Fostering a mindset of understanding. When we change our goals from making everyone agree with us to having a better understanding of the people and world around us, opinions and actions become much less hostile.
Appreciating our similarities. Regardless of where we are from, what we think, or even who we are, it can be important to remember how alike we are and how close we are as humans on this earth together.
Not taking opinions personally. This month, we can do our best to take a step back and realise that the actions and words of others rarely, if ever, have anything to do with us in actuality. Most often, they are only reflections of how others are feeling and thinking. When we take things less personally, the world can open up for us.
Showing compassion. We never know what those around us are facing, so we can all do our best to bring as much compassion to our interactions with others. A little truly goes a long way.
Whether you will be wearing a poppy this year or not, there is always an opportunity to show a little extra care and spread a little more understanding for one another. As we can see from The Royal British Legion itself, stating that “There is no right or wrong way to wear a poppy. It is a matter of personal choice whether an individual chooses to wear a poppy and also how they choose to wear it. The best way to wear a poppy is with pride.”
Please share your experiences, thoughts, and ideas on wearing a poppy in the comments below.