Over the past months I have heard many different angles of a story that involves history, politics, cultures and finances, reasons that one candidate is better than the other, opinions and evidence of a party that is right and one that is wrong. With so many opinions and so much fear in the world, how do we acknowledge our own sense of how to make informed decisions about the relationships we enter into?
I have come up with 5 guidelines that can help each of us to stay true to our authentic self, whether it is during election time and about a relationship with a political party or coming to terms with a lover, friend or family member who has a different perspective than our own.
Educate yourself. If it is a question of consuming something (food, drugs, products, a political leader) research your purchase before you invest. Gather information about corporate governance, ingredients, history of candidate, whatever. Be informed. Wisdom is knowledge, knowledge is bliss.
Take time. Don’t rush into your thoughts, words or actions. Create space in your life by meditating, taking a walk or going for a swim. Mull over your options and ask yourself questions.
Get to the bottom of your opinion. When you have a viewpoint, it never hurts to poke holes in it and try to see the other side of the story. It seems that a lot of times when we are fixed solidly into one perspective we are stuck because of fear.
See the other side of the story. Listen to those around you who feel differently than you do and see what you can learn and take from their perspective. Practice empathy – seeing yourself in their story. What can you take away that also enables you to test your own theories and principles? Can you have a dialogue without turning to anger/aggression/resentment?
Ask yourself. Are your feelings and your need to express yourself really ‘true’, or is it based in the ego, fear, or something else? Is it necessary to say something, or superfluous? Is it kind? We don’t always know what the truth is, but if we take time to ask ourselves these questions, we may be more thoughtful in what we put out into the world, and that goes a long way to creating a more gentle world.
The only thing that is ultimately true is love. When we can arrive at our decisions from that place, we never can go wrong.