Some of us are still in turmoil over the election, withdrawing from social media and any kind of political conversation. I get it—it’s been exhausting. But we can’t hide forever.
Over the next four years, it’s important to remain Independent Enough so that we are able to respond to differing opinions in a way that makes us feel good about who we are. In a way that builds our sense of well-being. That stays away from the biting anger that has characterized this election, while still maintaining a strong voice and taking action in that which we believe is right (even if others disagree).
One of the ways we can achieve this is through the way we communicate. Stop for a minute and ask yourself if during your recent conversations—verbal or digital—you’ve done any of the following:
- Became angry
- Labeled someone (or a group of people) as a bigot, racist, misogynist, weak liberal, leftist or “just plain stupid”
- Became dogmatic—as if your way was the only way
- Read something and then spread the word as if it’s the one-and-only truth
- Became louder to make a point
- Became fearful
- Walked away feeling resentful, replaying over and over again what was said
If any of these apply to you, then the way you’re communicating is not bringing about peace-of-mind, and you need to reevaluate. The best way to do this is by figuring out who you want to be when you hear good news or bad. You may want to make a commitment to be strong in your convictions, yet still have the ability to enter into conversations with someone who is diametrically opposed to your ideas. You may decide to listen and understand where someone is coming from, and only when they’re finished, give your point-of-view. You may decide to lead the conversation in the way you believe dialogue should happen as opposed to getting swept up in the content.
Whatever you decide, remember that focusing on others, labeling, becoming angry, attacking, and blaming does little to improve any situation and only leaves us bitter and unhappy. Leading any conversation in the way you believe is right and productive will give you a greater sense of well-being. There’s nothing more powerful—no matter what anyone says.