Even though the election is through, the political climate is still hot right now - and I don't mean Machine-Gun-Kelly-and-Megan-Fox-hot, I mean, my-hands-are-blistering-hot. The divide is strong and viewpoints are harsh, so how do we maintain our cool when friends, family members, or even strangers pull our triggers? How do we not lose our shit in a political debate in 2020?
1. Stay Curious
Listen. I know we all know we're right. Right? But try an OG in relationship therapy advice and be curious. When someone comes at you with total opposition to your views and opinions, draw on every cell in your body to not go into defense, but instead, stay open and interested. That doesn't mean agreeing or dropping your values at all. It simply means attempting to listen, ask questions, and maybe even look at the whole situation like one grand science experiment - a six-headed alien, if you will. Maybe you don't want to get in their spaceship, but wouldn't you want to know where this thing came from? So interesting!
2. Generously Give the Benefit of the Doubt
You know those people who are so naive, but just so happy? Think Spongebob Squarepants. See the good in absolutely everyone. Search far and wide within them and within yourself. If someone's stance or statement stirs you up or rubs you the wrong way try to stay gentle and give them the benefit of the doubt. You'll never know their full story and why they think the way they do - even if you know them well. You're likely to never understand their exact personal trauma nor the motive behind their words. This person could be uneducated or uninformed and that in and of itself may be trigger-some, but maybe we can find empathy in why they are the way they are and why they don't know what they don't know. Sometimes we take things completely the wrong way. Sometimes people say things they don't mean or in ways they didn't intend to. Some people are plain-out shitty communicators. This could be that person. Even when it's hard to see, remember that we're all humans. Breathe and find innocence.
3. Set Your Boundaries
There are, will, and probably have been moments where someone has absolutely rocked your boat with disgrace. Where someone says something so fundamentally offensive to you that you go into complete shock or an earth-shattering outburst. We can go in with all the right mindset and intention and still occasionally, be blindsided. Though boundaries should be honored the whole conversation through, when something hits this hard is when big boundaries come in. Kindly excusing yourself from the physical space or the conversation should you lose a handle on your adult-pants is not just warranted, but encouraged. This also goes for conversations, debates or arguments that have simply gone on for too long (whatever that means or looks like to you).
Good luck this holiday season. Live and lead with love.