Politics, social justice and elections are tearing families apart. It is more crucial than ever to step back and evaluate the fevered pitch of every single day, every single news story and every social post. I have been shocked and devastated to hear amazing family, friends and colleagues ending their relationships over politics. In some ways, all sides believe that they have cornered the market on the truth. More than ever there is a palpable intolerance that usually starts conversations with…”I can NOT believe that you support ……” Incredulity, anger, frustration and vitriol is spewing like I have never experienced in my lifetime.
I am no stranger to spirited debates, I am Greek and have a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.
I am advocating for 3 ways to hang onto relationships during these tumultuous times.
- Remember who you will call in an emergency or crisis. If someone close to you is your go to person, consider that no politician, community leader, news anchor is personally invested in your life. They will not be there for you. It is worth the effort to find respect and a bridge to those you love and care for in life.
- See Life as a mirror. If you are intolerant of differing opinions, life will mirror intolerance right back at you. Show up as self righteous and you will experience self righteousness. Even though you believe you are “right” and you believe that “they are so wrong,” ask yourself if you want to be right or in a relationship of any kind. Passions and convictions run deep on all sides. Find someone you respect that has opposing views and mirror how you handle communication with them.
- Seek first to understand when communicating. Most of us judge each other before the conversation starts and turn off our ears, only waiting to pounce with everything we “know”. Set down ground rules if you decide to discuss your differences and stick to them. Yes, even with friends and family say, “I want to hear your reasons for your beliefs if you are willing to listen to mine.” Then set a time for 1 or 2 minutes on your smart phone and literally listen to understand, not to refute.
Take the high road.
“Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.” – Aristotle
One of the most amazing facets of being human is the ability to see a vision for the future and take steps to bring it into existence. If you really care for someone in your life and see them continuing, I challenge you to find a way to make it happen. This season of unrest will inevitably change and I hope and pray that you write the next chapter with the gifts of the people in your life.
In celebration of Mental Health Awareness Day on Oct 10th, 2020, I recommend the amazing resources of therapy (teletherapy, group therapy, one on one counseling) if you are suffering anxiety or depression. There is no shame or stigma in finding a source of strength and support for coping skills. We can all agree that we are imperfect and I know for certain that I am indeed a work in progress.