Originally published October 29, 2010
It seems like lions and tigers and bears a little – don’t you think? Scary! There’s no getting around it, we live in a toxic political world. It more advantageous for politicians to tear down their opponents than to find solutions to our country’s problems. I don’t think there is a lot we can do to change it, except turn off all media and isolate ourselves in a cabin in the woods or in a van down by the river.
Luckily, there are some easy things you can do to stay relaxed and peaceful when that time of year or portion of the news rears its head. Yay!
Here are a few of my favorite ways to stay peaceful amidst political madness:
- When you see yard signs that you do not agree with, take a moment to send the home owners some love and respect. I like to think, “I respect your passion and willingness to help your chosen candidates. Good for you!” This is so much better than, “Arg – I hate that guy.” If you work with this a little, you can find a phrase that raises instead of depletes your energy while still being the truth.
- When close friends, family, or neighbors start talking about something political that you don’t agree with, change the subject to how much you share. I firmly believe there are very small differences between us that are extraordinarily exaggerated to create anger. Anger motivates voter turnout more than anything else, so it is an effective tool. I like to say, “I respect the strength of your opinion, and I too want a good world for our kids to grow up in.” It’s hard to do anything but agree with that statement.
- Stop thinking that you are right about everything. I know this sounds preachy, but it was my favorite Rabbi ever and civil rights activist Abraham Joshua Heschel who said, “In a controversy, the instant we feel anger, we have already ceased striving for the truth and have begun striving for ourselves.” This phrase helps me take a moment to try and learn something new instead of sticking to my stubborn old opinions. The sad truth is, you can be right, or you can have peace. This is also true in marriage. Ha!
- Remember that all politicians are just trying to do what they think is right. Even if this isn’t true, and I do really believe that it is, it helps quell hate. This is good for your soul – I promise!
- Send out love to our world. This can be anything from praying for the country and world to smiling at everyone you see for a day to doing an act of kindness for someone. It feels good, and takes the sting out of life. Woo hoo!
Need more help? Email your political peace quandaries and challenges to me or comment below.