Updated: Mar 8, 2021
A Blog on Politics and Communication in Today’s World
Before you clicked on this blog, in all honesty, when you read the word, politics, there is a good chance that you thought: “Oh, I don’t want to touch that with a ten-foot pole.” Well, if you did, I’d say you’re with the majority. Truth be told, if we are all coming clean, I hesitated to write this blog myself.
Lately, there have been so many controversial topics going on in the world and in the news, it has us all on edge. No matter what side we are on, how strongly we feel about an issue, or how little we know about something, it can be very difficult, awkward, and/or uncomfortable to navigate through these things. Not to mention, (but I am mentioning!), we are still going through a global pandemic – so that adds to our stress, which has also caused much controversy in itself.
With all the uncertainty and chaos transpiring, I was inspired to write this blog. My goal is to remain as neutral as possible while listing tips and things to remember to help alleviate some of the stress while focusing on doing things that ARE in our control.
Tips for Managing/Preventing Stress
-Read the room.
Ask yourself: is it time to discuss politics right now? Will it kill the vibe? At this moment, am I in the best headspace for this conversation?
-Notice your tone.
When voicing your thoughts, ideas, and opinions, notice your tone. Am I being too aggressive right now and sounding like I am in attack mode? Do I need to speak more assertively to get my point across?
-What is your agenda?
Ask yourself why are you having a conversation with this person, at this particular moment. If it is for the sake of arguing just to argue, maybe we should pull back. Nothing will be accomplished if two people simply WANT to argue.
Allow all sides to speak their minds and share their opinions, that is what a true discussion is.
Is this conversation/discussion/argument worth my time and effort? Will I get anywhere with it, or am I hitting a brick wall?
Be conscious of who you’re speaking to. If you know the person really well and usually know their agenda and that they are aware of how you typically react to them, it might not be the best to continue having political discussions with them. At this point, they may be instigating a heated discussion.
-You don’t have to engage in EVERY conversation.
Yes, during this time, many of us feel a responsibility to speak our minds, however, for our own mental health, it doesn’t have to be the ONLY conversation we have. We can build resentment towards people this way.
-Limit your news and social media exposure.
It feels like everywhere I look I see something about politics and controversy. Not to say these things aren’t important, but the more we see it, the more we tend to obsess and become angry. Because social media is a major platform now, it is difficult to use as an escape. Try to start liking other things and following other pages on these social media sites. This can widen your scope so that you see other topics that aren’t so heavy. For example, I love dog videos so I follow many dog videos that I can enjoy.
Many times, we go into these conversations having our minds already made up. If we delve into a conversation with a more open point of view, we may learn something. We need to actively listen to all sides.
Notice how you are educating yourself and what portals you are seeking to do so. For example, if the news station you watch every day has a particular agenda, widen your range to hear all sides. To be honest, I don’t always understand things in the news, especially the jargon they use. Try to find a reputable news source that you understand that puts things into words in a way you can comprehend.
-Try not to think in absolutes.
There are always people in every group that go to extremes. Try not to categorize these groups into one small box. Regarding the famous saying, “the good suffer for the bad…”, let’s try to change that, or at least change our mindsets when viewing each group. Not all protesters vandalize, not all conservatives are racists, etc. The word “all” will typically give it away.
-Put yourself in their shoes.
Before judging someone’s views, ask yourself what makes their perspective so? How did they grow up? Many of our past experiences and current circumstances have shaped our views.
We can all coexist, have different beliefs, and still be friends. If not friends, we can still be respectful. Sometimes being respectful is keeping conversations light, (i.e., weather talk), or keeping our distance from one another, but we can still smile at one another and behave civilly.
Keep in mind that it’s okay to have different opinions than your parents, spouse, children, friends, coworkers, clients, students, neighbors, etc.