Have you become addicted to your favorite news channel? Do you have someone who you watch or listen to most days to, “Hear the latest”? Do you often wonder how people on “the other side” could be so easily manipulated? You know better than to talk to anyone about politics but someone you respect shares with you how angry they feel about people not caring, and they are on the other side! You could argue with them and risk losing a friend. You could avoid the question with, “Yeah, what can we do?”. Or, you can help them discover something that honors their honest concerns. And, just maybe, a few of yours!
Bringing Up the Taboo
There is a reason someone risks telling you how they feel about a topic that is typically taboo. They may be looking for affirmation. Something is going on in their life and they may be looking for someone to agree with them. But, they are asking you. Subconsciously your friend believes that in their relationship with you lays answers to the pain they feel.
The business side of the news “stirs your pain” so that you will continue watching their programs and purchase their advertised products. They intentionally present one side of an issue as this serves to distract you from a balanced life view. It’s a chronic emergent mode that encourages thoughtless participation. It is addictive and can take on a life of its own that has little to do with the pain associated with relationships in your life. They usually begin, however, by stirring something in you that you care about, feel you can help and have the desire to act on.
Talking Politics, Peacefully
Your conscious mind is easily led, flowing back and forth according to your team’s political position. Your subconscious mind organizes much more deeply with historical connections to every relationship you have ever experienced. A view of the world forms and your place in it. Often, this forms an organic experiential basis for your spiritual views. Your friend senses how your essence is able to connect with his or hers and hopes this will lead to answers that can relieve their suffering. If you have the time and inclination, consider this opportunity.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Find out WHO they are being angry for.
- Convert their anger into a more holistic concern.
- Ground their concern into some aspect of their life.
- Leave them with a question they can walk with that helps them explore how they might engage and relieve the suffering of others.
Carrying around significant anger chronically hurts your friend and everyone they touch. Anger is the body’s way of saying, “Something’s not right and we have to do something about it!” The news may not directly affect them, but it likely affects something or someone they care about. Your friend may care about families crossing the border or a class of people who are treated unfairly but there’s more to the story.
First, agree where you can with the basics. Anger is appropriate when someone is unfairly denied their pursuit of happiness. You can also agree on likely outcomes for the people involved should this continue. People left with no way to meet their needs suffer now and will likely suffer more in the future. Agreeing with the plight of someone, for example, someone seeking asylum, opens the doors to the discussion. Expanding the concern to include likely future outcomes aligns and deepens the discussion, making it more real. Your friend’s anger will likely begin shifting to a more organic concern.
Next consider exploring the oppressed person’s past, their upbringing and the lack of opportunities they suffered. It helps to find people who have first-hand knowledge of their culture and their life views. Explore what is important to them, their needs, and acceptable ways of meeting their needs. They likely differ significantly from yours. Have your friend lead the discussion. You are exploring problems your friend cares about and you are helping your friend find personal connections that are calling out to him in his life.
Maybe those seeking asylum suffered limited educational opportunities. There may be family issues that led to inadequate living skills, employability or emotional health. Listen carefully as you both review the actual struggles these people faced. Your friend will likely accentuate and feel the pull to a particular challenge they faced. A teacher may focus on educational issues. A therapist will have a heart for their family and their emotional development. A business person will recognize limitations induced by inadequate economic opportunities. Those involved in government may sense the lack of a safety net.
Then try to expand this concern to all people everywhere who may have been affected by this type of challenge. The people discussed in the news are likely only one example of many people who suffer similar difficulties. Allow them to teach you as they explore how and where this difficulty interferes with people’s lives.
Then ask, “How might you be able to help?”
Help them explore their options by considering these questions:
- What has been tried in the past?
- What prevented these efforts from working?
- What has changed that might make a difference?
- Who benefits from things remaining the same? How might their concerns be addressed?
- What could you do right now? Who could you ask? What leverage could you apply? Who could your call? What could your join?
- How can you multiply the benefits of these efforts by including your family, friends and/or business partners?
Maybe this conversation results in a phone call to their congressman or maybe it changes the direction of their life. In either case, it will help. Anger becomes concern which flows into meaningful action. Just as significantly, you will have been a friend and helped shine a little of your spiritual light where it was needed. And maybe it’s time to take back your life by stepping back from the daily news. You have earned an awareness of how at least one person on “the other side” feels. Maybe there isn’t another side and maybe the belief in “another side” maintains our anger and sustains our disbelief that there is anything we can do about it.
Learn more ways to help others along their personal journey by signing up risk-free for the Masters in Oneness video course.