How do we discuss divisive issue around the dinner table?
The new administration has been sworn in, new day, new life, new policies, new hopes. Conversations are going to happen around dinner tables; unavoidably some difficult conversations are prone to happen and there are many divisive subjects that can erupt
- The elections
- Wearing masks or not
- Is COVID real or a hoax
- Get vaccinated or not
- Send children to school or learn at home
- Close or open businesses
And the list goes on.
So, the question that I have been asked multiple times is: Do we talk about divisive issues not?
This is not a simple Yes or No answer. The answer really relies on our Emotional Intelligence and the level of our self-awareness.
There is a need to remember that any of these issues can lead to harsh words and expressions that can break relationships sometimes forever.
Also, it is plausible for example that we could have voted for the same President and still disagree on some of the policies or vice versa
The divisiveness comes from the fact that we all have set of values sometimes non-negotiables that mean so much to us, when discussing them it touches who we are at the core, inflaming raw nerves that is why we flare up but remembering that and being aware of it (Emotional Intelligence) can help minimize those effects.
We have known most of the people at that dinner table throughout our lives, these are mostly people that are family members or close friends, you shared good and bad times with them.
Try to think for a second what did drastically change to make them the devil all of a sudden; “Biden happened” or “Trump happened” is not an answer
I have been thinking really hard about what we are all going through, I always go through my pros and cons list, I found myself asking “Who am I to think” that I am a 100% right, that no one got it right but me. I do have an opinion and I have my values, I honor them, I stand in my truth and own it, but who I am to demonize you or demonize anyone’s opinion because it is a different one.
I am a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion professional; I stand for inclusion so if I exclude someone’s opinion that is different, then I am a hypocrite.
Before we can answer the question, we need to ask our self these questions that are all based on our level of self-awareness (Emotional Intelligence at its best here)
- Are we good at drawing boundaries?
- Are we able to handle volatile hard emotions?
- Are we able to handle the challenge of our own opinions?
- Are we able to take push back on our own feelings and ideas?
- Are we able to take pressure?
- Are we able to take it when someone tells us” No you are wrong” or push our hot buttons?