Autonomy Counseling, PLLC

The Political Divide: An Opportunity for Learning

Political Divisions

October 11, 2020

Political Divide Definition: 

  • Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines political as "of or relating to government, a government, or the conduct of government." It defines divide as "to separate into two or more parts, area, or groups."

  • What does this title actually mean? It means that politics is one of the subjects that, historically, within the macro-cultural context, is so emotionally provoking that we cannot have a cordial conversation about the topic. And yet, there are some who can. So what happens during those conversations compared to the others. And what are the consequences of avoiding the subject, getting into heated arguments about the issue, and having civil discussions?

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Relationships:

  • When these subjects are completely avoided, we learn the best way to address issues that result in extreme emotions is to avoid them. The problem? The problems are still there. The conflicts in life remain and do not get solved. Children do not learn from adults how to have difficult conversations, listen to others, see the other's perspectives, and recognize them as valid even if they disagree.

  • When the subject results in heated conversations, we stop listening to others. We are focused on how to respond to prove that we are "right." The problem? Often many subjects, like politics, are opinions. They are not facts, rather beliefs and, by definition, cannot be right or wrong. Yet, people try to be "right." Their perspective is the correct one. People discount othersā€™ perspective, name call, blame others for their own behaviors, and sometimes cut off relationships completely because others don't agree with them on a "heated" topic. Children learn they must be "right" and do not have to listen to anyone else's viewpoint.
  • When people listen to one another, and I mean actually listen rather than thinking about how to respond, people feel heard and understood. Rather than be divided, people with different perspectives share ideas, resulting in creative solutions. Two heads are better than one; three are better than two, and so on. Children learn they can understand without agreeing. They can listen without responding. They can compromise for an effective solution rather than needing to be "right." You may have guessed; the first two options are unhealthy and destroy relationships. Using the last option, relationships have the opportunity to flourish.

Conclusion:

We don't have control over other people's behaviors, but we do have control over ourselves. We can model the behaviors we would like our children (and sometimes even our elected officials) to display. 


Remember, small steps can make big changes.