Letting go, but not Giving Up

Like a majority of Americans I have been appalled by the Trump administration, by the hyperbolic and cynical politics that have taken hold of the bases on each side of the political spectrum. It has become grating to my ears and to my heart. I can’t stand to face the exaggerated claims and flat out lies anymore. What is the point when the people screaming about them are not persuadable? There is no rationalism left. It has been replaced with irrational behaviors and conspiratorial thinking.
I have decided that I need to let go. I need to stop worrying about how the unpersuadable think. I have to stop putting the stress of trying to change people’s minds on myself. Some may say that I am just giving up. That is not true. I have not decided to stop stating my mind or laying out an argument for my position. What I have decided to do is to stop engaging with the people that will not have their minds changed. If they say something that is wrong, I will post my thoughts and leave, never to comment again. If they comment on something I post, I will just keep walking. I presented my argument. I have bene practicing this discipline for the last few weeks and it is freeing.
The journey to this was not a long one. It came on suddenly. Even before our current political reality, I had felt like garbage. Every time I heard someone say something that wasn’t just antithetical to my world view, but was factually wrong, I would tighten up inside. It ground me down. One day I was reading an article that talked about the daily activities of the people being written about. They were enjoying themselves, they were happy and proud of their work. None of it was political. None of it was divisive. I realized that life is more than what differences we have in world view. I realized that what makes interacting with people interesting isn’t arguing with them, but working with them to be constructive.
Being constructive may be building a deck, or it may be creating software, or it may be cooking a meal. That is how society is born and sustained. Communities form through constructive interactions. those communities begin to develop a larger sense of identity which helps launch larger efforts that benefit the community. When multiple communities come together and begin to cooperate on larger goals, a society forms.
Over the last 50 years, society has been crumbling from within. individual interactions have dropped, causing people to feel isolated and care more about themselves than others. This has broken down communities and when those communities started breaking down, society starts showing cracks. We are in this current situation in the world because of that decay process occurring at the most fundamental level. The problem started from the bottom up, the solution has to happen from the bottom up.
My epiphany provided the insight for the solution of our problem. The formula for this may seem like a platitude, but its not as meaningless as some may think.
  1. Stop focusing on our differences. Nothing constructive can come from highlighting how we are different. Placing focus on these things only serves to cause division and tribalism.
  2. Start interacting positively with those around you. You do not need to look far to find someone to talk to. They may be in their own shell of isolation. Consider this as an opportunity to make a positive change by bringing the, into the community. Neighbors, community meetings, fellow customers, coworkers, and more. These people are all opportunities to make positive connections with people.
  3. Resist the urge to argue. Arguments are a drag on relationships. They do not generate any positive outcomes and only serve to push people farther apart.You may have good intentions, but others may attempt to goad you into arguing. Return their overtures with positive conversation. Deflect their attempts to argue and redirect to something that will build the relationship up.
If a critical mass of people start living live according to these steps the rot will stop and we can save our society. I think that people are waking up to this truth. I just hope it happens at an accelerating rate so that the world we leave our children is better off than what we were given.