Finding the Positive or Are You Sick of It, too?
I’m not sure about you, but it’s hard for me to take much more of the political fights happening throughout my social media world. It’s obvious that we are in unchartered territory here in the United States because I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
Even a simple comment by one person can erupt into a full-blown fight. Naturally, logic is often missing from these so-called conversations.
I’ve seen many people un-friending and un-following people who don’t wholeheartedly agree with their “right” position.
On the other hand, I’ve seen true leaders emerging in the midst of it all. What do leaders do when an unexpected blast of political winds threatens to overwhelm?
“Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply.” –Stephen Covey
I’ve seen leaders ask more questions to understand and clarify. Instead of proving someone wrong and the rightness of a position, I watched someone modify language and communication. Or, try this: Start with the positive before you believe the worst about someone. And especially gratifying was when two people agreed to actually talk. Yes, talk—you know, when you are actually sitting down, face-to-face and having a real conversation instead of a social media onslaught. What an idea! Finally, I was particularly pleased when someone took my counsel. My advice was to see if you could argue the other side passionately and factually. That required research and time, but I was told it was an incredibly enlightening process. He didn’t change his mind, but he did reach a common understanding with his friend.
“Leaders start with the positive, always believing the best first.” -Skip Prichard
I’m taking these simple lessons beyond these arguments to use in my everyday life:
- Ask more questions
- Clarify positions
- Assume positive intent
- Reduce emotions by hearing the stories behind the raw emotion
- Modify language from extreme positioning
- Increase face-to-face conversations
- Learn to articulate the other side with passion and facts
I can’t say that I’m not frustrated with it all. I still cringe when I see someone post a question as bait ready to hook someone into an argument. At least now I’m hoping for a more positive resolution.
“Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.” -Laurence Sterne
The constant negative political talk had me pen a little poem about it all.
Here it is:
I LOVE YOU, BUT…
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord: stop my social media feeds!
May the angels stop all political debate
and keep my friends from taking the bait.
For I can’t take the constant complaints
Nor one side indicating that they’re the saints
So many people, so bitter
Who find such time to blither and gibber
Would that we find time to listen
Instead of staying on our mission.
To love our neighbor and spread some cheer
And encourage our friends for all to hear
When I awake from my slumber
Let me awake to this world of wonder
Where we listen before we speak
Where an offense gets only the other cheek.
We can agree that I’m no poet, but here’s to a world where we respect others, assume the positive, listen to others, and don’t get easily offended!
“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” –Bryan McGill