Sunday, July 31, 2016

*T*H*I*N*K*

The US is experiencing a political debate unlike any other that I can recall clearly in my lifetime. I have vague recollections of a LOT of Nixon-Humphrey-Wallace nastiness in 1968. I was 8 then and I'm not sure if my memories are true or not. Our country was in similar turmoil back then....... but I don't have time to corroborate my memories right now and it's not the point I wanted to work on.

Back to the present day --- I find the social media and news media chatter upsetting. It used to be that negative campaigning was limited to the politicians themselves. The mud slinging, the name calling, the loud talking over each other was limited to the candidates. Today, it seems we have all been drawn into it. Maybe i'm more sensitive than most. I do have a low tolerance for conflict and loud noises. But I think it's more than that and it's scary. Come November, no matter who is elected, we all have to continue living, working and caring for each other. If we don't ..... like I said it's scary.

I think it would be helpful if we could stop and THINK before we post. Social media has made it far too easy to post and share without pause. It's created a frenzy of frantic discord.




T is for true. This one is challenging because much of the talk is opinions or interpretations of what's going on. And in the eye or mind of the speaker it IS true. I'm not suggesting that just because everyone doesn't agree - it's false. Nor am I suggesting that we all must fact check before we post. What I am suggesting is taking an extra pause before posting or sharing--- "is this really what I want to say or is it being said or shared in response to an emotional reaction I had?".

H is for helpful. Not everything must be said. Again, the question we could ask ourselves is "am I reacting or am I truly (there's that truth concept again) trying to further a valuable exchange."

I is for inspiring. Merriam Webster defines this as "causing people to want to do or create something or to lead better lives". This is a challenging one as well. There are many who when the say "vote for __________ or else" or "if you don't vote for ___________ you are no better than ____________" could say they are trying to inspire others to change the world by voting a certain way. And I'm not in any position to say the speakers are wrong.

I'd like to challenge folks to adopt the "Yes, and" strategy used often in improvisational entertainment. The "yes" portion allows for acceptance/respect that the other person has an opinion; the "and" statement adds new information to the conversation. I don't have to agree with you to have a "Yes, and.." conversation with you. "Yes....and" also forces us to stop and think before we speak or post.

I'm not completely naive. I get that the 'yes...and' conversation can be easily abused if someone really wanted to. Being a generally positive person though I do believe most of us, would find the strategy useful.

N is for necessary. I don't have much to say here. I think the H and the N go together.

K is for kind. When all is said and done (while it is being said and done in this case) is there a way to say what we need to say in a way that is kind. "Can I say what needs saying without shaming, slamming or ridiculing others?" I think if we manage T,H,I and N the K comes naturally.

In my opinion, if we are not careful in how we share our words - especially if our words are meant to bring about a certain action - we run the risk of causing the opposite of what we intended.

Keep smiling keep moving (and consider more *T*H*I*N*K*ing)
-Paula

1 comment:

  1. Amen! Thinking before you speak is very important!

    ReplyDelete