I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left. – Margaret Thatcher
The news about the US Presidential election is filled with anger these days. No matter what side of the election you are on, I am sure you can state case after case of anger, hatred and attacks – verbal and physical.
The need and ability to share our honest feelings is human, natural, and necessary. Many of us feel the need to express outrage, fear, and anger. And we do have the right to express our thoughts and feelings – but how we express them can change their impact on others and ourselves.
A friend told me that other day, “I am going to post what I think on Facebook and if my friends don’t understand, that is their issue not mine.” And it is true. Other people’s reaction to our beliefs is not our business. We are not responsible for their reactions.
And I also believe that the way in which we share our feelings has a strong impact on how others react.
Are we stating a difference in dogma or attacking someone’s character?
What adjectives are we using for those who disagree with us? Are they necessary? Are they petty? Are they fact or opinion?
Is how we are stating our views clearly expressing our intent or are they worded in a way to incite others to defend themselves?
What is our desire in sharing our thoughts? Is how we are wording our feelings going to help or hurt our desire for others to understand?
Besides the positive or negative effects of our words on others, we also need to consider what our words are doing to ourselves. Remember my recent post about every force has an equal and opposite force? Are we putting out a force that we would like to receive back? Or is our own anger and hatred sending the same negative energy back on us?
A great book called Power vs. Force delves into the energies behind our words. His premise is that there is a vibrational energy behind our words and feelings. I don’t want to debate the scientific theory behind this, but I ask you to notice your own experience. When you are angry or say hateful words, how do you feel? How about when you tell someone you love them, how does that affect your body and mind?
Bringing this back to my point, as you share your thoughts about the upcoming election (or any other heated topic) how do your words feel to you? Are they bringing you peace and calm or raising your blood pressure? If you do not care how others react to your words, notice how you are reacting to your own words. Look back at what you wrote and see how you can express your viewpoint in a way that does not attack or alienate others. If you switch the words to be more palatable to you, notice how your message may be easier to be heard by others – no matter their views.
If you are like me and are looking for ways to make this upcoming election have more positive energy, join me, James Twyman, and others as we hold a space of peace, compassion, and understanding during the debates and rallies. Hopefully together we can stop the tide of anger and return again to intellectual debate.