Last week I decided that it was time to enter the political fray. After publishing my piece, I began reading and doing some research. Holy crap, there’s a lot going on!
I found that as I read, if I didn’t really ground myself and stay centered, I would get really wound up. Now, I work with and teach these skills every day, and I found it a challenge to stay grounded and centered. I can only imagine what it’s like for people that haven’t developed these skills.
As part of this process, I began discussing issues and generally talking about the state of things with some of my clients. I got some useful information and resources from them, but I found that if I wasn’t careful they would become over-activated and emotionally distraught. Although this provided a great opportunity to reinforce their grounding and centering skills, it wasn’t necessarily why they were there to see me.
I quickly realized that I needed to establish some rules and boundaries around staying informed and sharing and discussing issues with others. After witnessing and even instigating some uncomfortable interactions between people, I thought I would share these rules with you.
Don’t assume everyone thinks the way you do.
Take time to ground and center before reading or watching the news. Preparing yourself mentally and emotionally will allow you to control your response to what is going on, while taking in more of the actual information.
Use multiple sources for information. Most news outlets are slanted one way or the other. Know where your sources are slanted towards and try to get fully rounded views. Challenge yourself by reading from sources that you generally disagree with.
Take the time to fully understand the issues. If something is being repealed, know what it was meant to do, and who benefits from the change.
Be diligent, but watch your emotional responses. There are going to be lots of changes and reasons to be upset. It’s important to stay focused. If we respond to every potential situation, we’ll burn ourselves out and not be able to respond when it’s needed the most.
Stand up and be counted. If you feel the need to protest or make a statement, do so.
- When in public or in a group, make sure that a political discussion is ok with the group. There is a time and a place for these discussions.
I hope these basic rules are helpful. I find that it’s easier to stay informed and protect my mental and emotional energy by following these simple rules.