If you lose your head, you lose your argument

In the world we live in, ripe with tension between political parties, social media rants and know-it-all syndrome, holding conversations can be hard. Though, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have them. In order for society to improve, citizens have to have open dialogue to understand one another and find solutions to issues like inequality, war and financial instability — all concerns for the U.S. today.

If you engage in these conversations, I applaud you. You’re partaking in what it means to be an active citizen. I ask, however, that you try to keep your temper under control in these conversations. It can be hard to at times, but it’s worth staying calm in political conversations and here’s why:

As humans, we’re not perfect. Our perceptions, thoughts and beliefs are all shaped by our past experiences. Even if you are 100 percent convinced that your point of view is correct, you have to realize that the other person is convinced of this as well and will likely have a completely different reservoir of experiences to pull from within the conversation. There are going to be times when the person you’re talking to is wrong and there are going to be times where you find yourself wrong. But when anger comes into play, no progress can be made. Nobody likes to feel that they are being attacked or misunderstood. So, when you’re angry and use divisive language, yell or insult another person, why would they have any desire to listen to you?

This can be hard to remember when you log onto social media and see celebrities like Rihanna and Eminem say they don’t want fans who voted for the president or even see President Trump claim that NFL football players aren’t patriotic for their political demonstrations. It can be hard to remember when your friends and family have similar sentiments.  And yet, I always appreciate when people take the time to listen to my view; I consider their arguments more valuable if they explain them calmly and openly. Calm communication might be just what the U.S. needs.

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