Recently, I asked some lovely ladies in my life (Ranting Women) how they were feeling about everything going on in the news. It was a dead tie between two responses.
It’s pretty simple, actually. A lot of people are feeling a lot of things after recent headlines and executive orders. Regardless of which political party you most closely agree with, we place each other in stereotypes. As someone who is more moderate or liberal, anytime I share political thoughts, critiques, or ideas, I’m met with the assumption that I’m sensitive, dramatic, and I don’t understand how genders work. While I may be a bit dramatic in the way that I gasp at entertainment news, I don’t think that holds much weight in my political outlook.
It’s no secret that since the last presidential campaign, there has been a sense of division amongst family and friends, a stronger distaste for political bumper stickers, and of course, an ever deepening *sigh*. During recent events, that division feels wider than ever. After some discussion in the Ranting Women group, I think many of us are feeling misunderstood, frustrated, and helpless. What furthers that frustration, is feeling like you’re unable to communicate or that you aren’t being heard. Essentially, that no one is willing to listen to you with a spirit of understanding and an open mind. Rather, you’re constantly met with people who’d prefer a debate over a discussion. I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes at phrases like “being heard” or “spirit of understanding”, but I’d like to challenge you to keep reading and just do a bit of personal reflection, because none of us are blameless here.
Why Do We All Feel Misunderstood?
Because we aren’t having conversations with the people we love. We’re no longer interested in TRULY seeing or understanding someone else’s perspective. Instead, we wait to try to prove one another wrong and catch the first contradiction in the comment section.
I feel misunderstood in that often times my empathy is used against me. Being classified as overly sensitive, my opinions are brushed aside when I defend immigrants and other minorities. Often, my empathy is misunderstood as a lack of accountability for those who break laws.
I’m So Frustrated.
I’m so frustrated because I cannot understand why someone would be more concerned with shifting the blame of unjust laws, rather than admitting that they’re unjust and doing something about it.
But I can’t understand this because I haven’t sat down to ask anyone in my life why they feel that’s more important to note. We’ve decided that anyone that continues to stand by Trump and his administration is heartless and a blind follower. Just like the many that have decided that “No matter what he [Trump] does, the left will still cry!” and that we’ll never acknowledge any “good” he’s done.
We’re all frustrated and fed up with one another because we refuse to believe that we have anything in common with those we disagree. It’s impossible to have a discussion with them because they believe ______ or they want _____. Let’s start with what we have in common and work from there.
I am frustrated and I know you are, too. So instead of shutting down a conversation or turning off the notifications on a post, make it a priority to reach some sort of understanding of one another.
What’s the Point?
I feel paralyzed in a sense. Checking the news has started to feel like going into a boxing ring. Blow after blow after blow. (Oh darn, is my dramatic liberal smart ass showing again?)* And eventually, I don’t have any energy left. I don’t want to read the news. I don’t want to be sad. I don’t want to be angry. I don’t want to know what’s going on anymore. I don’t want to care anymore. It’s exhausting, especially when you feel helpless. I think that everyone on either side relates to that in some way. We’re all sick of defending ourselves and our beliefs.
So what is the point? The point is positive change. We all believe that as individuals, we’re fighting for the “greater good”. I do encourage each of you to continue to do so, but a lot of us aren’t fighting fairly anymore. We’ve become very comfortable in our corners of the internet with plenty of opinionated articles in our arsenal. We’re so far removed from anyone personally who disagrees with us, that of course we’re ignorant. I’m not saying we all need to agree on everything. That’s not even possible. I’m just asking we tone down the viciousness and learn to have relationships with one another again.
Some Things You Can Do
- Make sure you haven’t created an echo chamber. Here’s a helpful checklist:
Are you getting your news from at least three different sources? (NPR is a great non-biased option)
Are you fact checking your news? (Snopes is fantastic)
Do you have friends of different ethnicities, religions, and political opinion?
Are you still Facebook friends with and do you continue to follow multiple people who express different political views?
2. Hang out with someone who has vastly different political opinions and DON’T talk politics. Just hang out and have fun. Get to know each other. (Seriously, hang out at least three times before you talk politics)
3. Take a break from Facebook. Take a week off or at least take a week off of sharing or reading Facebook articles.
For those of you that still have hope, despite what you’re bombarded with, how? What do you do to continue a healthy balance? I truly want to know. If you’re wondering what the two responses were that I mentioned at the beginning, you’d have to be in the group to know. We have more in common than we’d care to admit right now. So take a freaking break. Take a break from it all. Step back. Get back to a happy, healthy place and observe the (hopefully positive) change in the way you talk to people and the kind of reactions you search for.
*I hope you laughed at this. What’s the point if you can’t laugh at yourself?