Presenting positive ways to view our evolving social structure.
It seems like 2016 has presented us with event after event and we have not had much breathing room in between. From election season, to election day and then straight into the holiday season. It is safe to say that we have been in a very divided state. But as we gather to enjoy the rest of this holiday season, to share moments with family and friends, there are ways to combat conflict, stress, and worry. Those ways do not involve shutting yourself off from people or beating people over the head with your opinion. But they are some pretty helpful suggestions to keep you sane and keep your peace.
Curiosity fueled the argument-Dr. Travis Bradberry in his article, 9 Habits of Highly Emotionally Intelligent People stated the following: “It doesn’t matter if they’re introverted or extroverted, emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them.” That curiosity leads each of us to the road of asking the opinions of others. We all have the desire to know what other people are thinking. It is the main reason that any of us have social media accounts, read books, and watch the news. We want to know. However, there are times that other people’s opinions do not match ours. And getting angry at someone else for having an opinion is a total waste of time. The best thing to do is to not to lead with your emotions and stress the differences. You can be passionate about your opinion without the desire to force it down the throats of other people. In this life we will not agree with each other all the time, not even with our family and friends. But learning to accept differences when someone does not agree is one of the biggest lessons any of us can learn in this life. Listen to the opinions of others if you choose, share yours, and keep moving. Do not waste time dwelling on things that you have no power to change.
Change is inevitable-The gas prices at times seem to change daily. Our social media is constantly updating. The latest phones and gadgets come out faster than we can afford to pay for them. We have learned in this lifetime that there is one thing that we can always count on and that is change. Social change in our world is inevitable and learning how to deal with it requires patience and flexibility. Being open to this reality will help us accept that we can never know everything and neither will those around us. The wave of new information that is constantly being produced is a lot for anyone to keep up with. Effective communication is built on a bridge of learning. Both parties are essential to the conversation. So learning to listen and respond respectfully to change is important. Be open to conversations that challenge your thoughts and don’t view everything as an attack. Look at these exchanges as an opportunity for growth in the knowledge and ideals that you hold.
Silence is growth-“Growth is when you realize that not every situation deserves your anger or even your full attention.” One of the hardest areas for many of us to grow in is the ministry of silence. We continuously quench the spirit of silence because we have been led to believe that everything requires our opinion. It does not. Facebook asks, what’s on your mind, but sometimes you should not speak what’s on that mind of yours. Twitter asks, what’s happening, but there are times that you just need to let things happen and keep moving. Instagram ask you nothing because a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes that is not needed either. The best thing to do sometimes is … absolutely nothing. Does that mean you don’t have an opinion? Of course not! Does it mean that your opinion is not valid? Not at all! It does mean, however, that you know and understand what deserves your time and energy and what can be left alone.
The season of Advent is a good time to consider this: one of the greatest things we take for granted is the power of our emotions and their effects on our minds. We allow pointless arguments and disagreements to pull on our emotional strings. Those events make us anxious and angry, and leave us stressed for no reason. So this holiday season please remember curiosity can sometimes fuel arguments, the change in this world is inevitable, and silence can be the greatest pathway to growth. Keep your peace and also your sanity this holiday season.
*This post is apart of a series of post that are being posted by my self-care group for seminary. This post will be updated on Monday with links to the other two post that are hosted on different sites.*