Ways to not freak out.

It is clear in the conversation we are having in this political season, that we are scared.

Conservatives are scared that the world is changing and that America is becoming more brown and diverse in terms of women reaching parity, and queer people having agency.

Progressives are scared that the gains recently made in equal rights are being repealed slowly in terms of states rights and public opinion.

Fear of the other side is causing everyone to close ranks, and resort to tribalism, which is frightening in itself as it can block reason and leave one void of empathy. When we are caught up in the self, it is difficult, if not impossible to think of the greater good for all.

But isn’t that exactly what we need in a time like this? Thinking about what is best for humanity would do much to bring the polarized conversation into some middle ground. After all, we do actually need to exist in this country together. I think that is what is lost in this conversation. No one is annexing land off and leaving the union despite recent rhetoric. So that means we have got to come together. This would require calming down and taking the heat out of conversations. Here are some ways I suggest we take the vitriol out of our speech and communication and hearts when we are dealing with someone across the divide in our political leanings.

  1. Breathe, no really actually stop and take a breath before you fire off that tweet, send that text, answer that email, or turn around in the grocery store to destroy someone with the opposite political opinion you heard them express, with facts from the latest ThinkProgress piece. Just opening that space by taking a pause, will allow you to not react, but think and make a choice.
  2. Consider will this statement help my cause? How do you react when you are challenged in public? Will correcting this person and embarrassing them in public change their vote?
  3. Take time out daily to do something you love. As corny as this sounds it works. Kiss your lover, play with your kids, go to a movie, read your favorite book again-do something that makes you actually smile every day. Don’t get caught up in the “have to” list and start checking off more of the “wish to” list.

This is just a start. Comment below with ways you have found to relax, and make your words more kind, and therefore more likely to be received by the opposition.