Prepare. For any kind of change, preparation is essential, so start by making a conscious decision to adopt a more open attitude and sense of purpose in your relationships when it comes to politics. As the old adage goes, “one’s perception is one’s reality,” and being understanding, compassionate, and open to seeing all sides of an issue first, takes preparation.
Breathe. Take a few deep breathes to begin to deal with the stress, anxiety and negative thoughts that have overcome you this election year. Mindful breathing will help you calm down when you become upset about how you think someone you know is wrong about Trump or Biden. So, the next time someone offends you by saying something against your candidate or political position, take some deep breaths.
Understand. Is it more important to be right about how good or bad you think Trump or Biden are than it is to be friends with someone you care about? You very likely didn’t “Friend” – on-line or off-line – someone you care about because of their voting practices, so why “Unfriend” them now because you don’t agree with them politically?
I recommend that we try to appreciate that the motivation of someone’s vote is determined by several factors: our upbringing, our gender, our age, our race, etc. Even our neurology seems to play a part in how we vote. Similarities across several well-conducted research studies have found that conservatism and liberalism is correlated with specific regions of the brain. So, when it comes to red states or blue states, our gray matter may matter more than we once believed.
When you find yourself getting defensive or upset with someone over politics, think about two or three things that you have in common with that person.
Accept. Gaining insight and self-awareness around problems allows you to make the important changes you might want to make in your life, including being more accepting of your family members, co-workers, and friends when it comes to politics. Getting yourself to a place where you can accept differences, will lead you to experiencing more positive thoughts, and you will be a much more agreeable person.
Let go. Deciding to let go of something very upsetting usually takes patience and time, but after working on acceptance, it will be your next step.