How to Make Sense of our Political World: A former people pleaser speaks up

Amanda Clark-Rudolph
“To say nothing is saying something. You must denounce things you are against or one might believe that you support things you really do not.”
Germany Kent
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Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

According to Christine Carter, Ph.D, and Senior Fellow at the Greater Good Science Center, people pleasing leads to anxiety and lack of focus.

I relate because controversy has never been my thing.

I've been a people pleaser since I can remember, and for most of my life when it came to controversial conversations, I’d shy away or stay silent.

Some close friends never even knew my political affiliation. As I grew older and my values grew stronger, I realized this habit was stressful and unhealthy.

Like so many people in both political parties, I desperately wanted to be heard.

So, when I became an official writer, life spilled on the page.

“Tune into your truth. Live it. Breath it. Beam it.” Emma Kate

For someone known for shying away from conflict — exposing my innermost opinions and thoughts to the world was terrifying.

But I did it, and in the last three years, I’ve tackled sensitive subjects on parenting, gender inequality, education, and more.

I’ve come a long way and learned that I can’t please everyone. In fact, I never could, so I might as well say what’s on my mind with the underlying effort of staying kind.

In other words, live the motto “To thy own self be true” without being a tool.

I've always prided myself on my open mind and diplomatic nature, but these days, it's become harder to remain level headed. After hearing so many conspiracy theories and bigoted remarks, I am pausing and taking more deep breaths than ever.

“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” ― Pema Chödrön

Lately, I’ve been more transparent because my thought about the world resembles an ongoing faucet.

Although some people disagree with me regarding pandemic misinformation, systemic racism, the unnecessary burdens placed on mothers, etc., I will no longer stay silent.

“Choosing with integrity means finding ways to speak up that honor your reality, the reality of others, and your willingness to meet in the center of that large field. It’s hard sometimes.”
Terry Tempest Williams

I recognize others have opposite views than my own and hold onto those views just as tightly (some of them more tightly) than me.

  • For example, I understand that some people genuinely believe the virus will end after the election. It’s curable with Vitamin D, the Plandemic video is real, and masks are a way for the government to control us.
  • Just like some people believe systemic racism doesn’t exist, a wall is the answer, and women have no right to complain.

I must note some people I love believe one (or all) of the above statements.

But I do not. And I will not pretend I do because that would be a disservice to everyone, including me.

I’ve always believed that you do you and I’ll do me — except when it hurts others.

And all of the statements above, in my opinion, lead to human suffering, and that’s where I draw the line.

And here’s the deal, I know I am going to lose people along the way, and I’ve come to not only accept but embrace that.

At this point in my life, I’d much rather have a genuine circle of 5 than a phony one of 1,000.

And to be clear, I don’t expect everyone in my village to agree with me, but I DO expect them to RESPECT me, and vice versa.

“I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not." - Neil Gaiman

It’s taken me a while, but I now see the value in conflict. It’s necessary to spread awareness, reaffirm beliefs, and grow. But it’s how some individuals, especially these days, handle conflict that irks me.

For example, I would never disown any friend or family member for belonging to one or the other political party (no matter how much I disapprove of our current president).

  • I have loved ones and friends who are diehard Trump fans, and of course, I still love them.
  • Just like some people I love, refuse to wear masks.
  • Or many privileged people I know refuse to acknowledge their privilege.

I would never disown individuals who think these things, but I certainly don’t have to agree with them.

And when it comes to others voicing an opinion that inflicts human suffering, I will not stay silent anymore — but I will do everything in my power to remain calm and respectful.

  • I will not name call, scream, point fingers, sucker punch, or tweet obscenities.
  • I will listen and then calmly and confidently state my perspective with facts based on research and emotion based on LOVE.
  • I will not stay silent if someone speaks hate about any person because of their sexuality, gender, race, or religion.

Condemning others is not okay, period.

“Don't criticize what you can't understand.”
― Bob Dylan

Call me naïve, but I still believe LOVE is the answer and disparaging a person to get your point across, no matter what side you’re on, is not okay.

  • Instead of judging others on their lifestyle choices, choose to be kind. Choose love.
  • Choose to look at every human, including Trump and Biden, as multidimensional people composed of beliefs based on complicated experiences and upbringings.
  • Choose to see layers instead of only surfaces.
  • Choose not to disown others because they think differently than you. Respectively stand up for your convictions — even when they do not align with others. But do it peacefully and tactfully.

We are all entitled to our beliefs, but we are not all entitled to harm.

We are all entitled to free speech, but we are not entitled to disrespecting others.

We are entitled to love, not hate.

As RBG observed, “Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”

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Hi, I'm Amanda - a freelancing mama who writes about family, travel, holidays, and more! In addition to freelancing it up, I'm a Content Coordinator for neighborhood magazines. My favorite pastimes: Writing, slurping lattes, and playing freeze tag with my two sons.

Ocala, FL
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