I recently discovered that lots of people, me included, are feeling a lots of stress about the current political situation. I reduced my stress using Logosynthesis® and felt much better.
I have known for a long time that I hate watching snarky characters putting each other down on TV shows. This makes me very uncool because most TV shows seem to operate in that format. At least that’s been my experience by dipping into the limited sample that my husband Jonathan likes to watch. Until recently, I considered that a personal weirdness, but it finally made sense to me.
After a dinner conversation with friends where someone asked for advice about reducing the stress of reading newspapers in the current political environment, I answered a question using only three words. The words were: assume positive intent. A longer version is that if you assume everyone is doing the best they can to get what they believe that they need in the world, there is no need to vilify them.
There is a need, however, to understand why they believe that they must engage in behavior that seems so destructive to me and other people I respect. There is also a need to understand how they believe that behavior will serve or protect them.
For over 40 years, I’ve focused on helping my clients learn to understand how their own unique experiences impact their behavior and how they perceive the world. Then I have helped them learn to communicate their own experiences to others in a way that honors everyone involved. Basically, I’ve struggled to learn and to teach how we can be kind to one another.
This was brought home when I read a newspaper article about the difficulty parents and teachers are having helping children, whom they are teaching not to bully each other, to understand why some grown-ups are allowed to behave so differently. The children are confused about why they get into trouble for following the examples they see on television and imitating those grown-ups.
Of course, the examples I’m talking about are the adults who are vying for leadership positions in the United States while shouting at each other in demeaning, bullying and insulting ways.
Children are not the only ones who learn by example, we all do! When I hear people being unkind to each other, I cringe. However, there are so many examples of unkindness and snarkiness on regular TV shows that it’s no wonder so many people have learned that this is an acceptable way to behave.
My values may be different than most others, but I don’t really think so. And as I thought through this situation, I realized that refusing to watch most TV programs is my way of expressing my own values. What are you doing to express your values?