Watch your language!! *$£*"^(" How we can all communicate effectively to incite change.

So - not totally yoga related - BUT

an important message to help all of our mental wellbeing and personal growth in my opinion.

Social media was once just that. A place people 'socialise'. That is post silly things about their lives, update each other and connect. It still is all those things but it's become much more. It's become a platform to campaign, a place for advertisement and a place to debate. 

  Since 2016 when the British referendum was in play calling on us to decide as a nation if we wanted to leave the European Union, I've slowly distanced myself from it. Currently, I only really use Instagram, but still have Facebook since I have a business which still relies on some form of connective reach to the audience. 

One of my big pet peeves is reading the 'I suggest you educate yourself'. It's massively patronising and super passive aggressive but mostly, invites not discussion but hostility. It already suggests you think you are a lot more well read on the topic than anyone else when you don't know the source of the author's comment.

 I've noticed that the language in which we speak to each other with is just getting more and more foul. I can't help but cringe at the highly DEfensive as well as the highly OFFensive tone and stance we take on conversations. I feel so much hatred and anger in everyone. Yet conversely, these same people will take the time out after having an argument on social media, to repost a 'Be Kind' meme...since when has it been the norm to say and do the opposite without being called out on? 

  As we all know, in the UK, the debating of various political matters have been absolutely relentless. This year (2020 if you are reading this later down the line...) has been a non-stop blizzard of twist and turns. I feel that collectively we are all a little fatigued with the constant updates of more crazy events shaking things up and this has been manifesting 10 fold on social media.

There appears to be 'either or' in social media these days. The very generic, well-meaning but poorly directed inspirational quotes or the angry pushback of every statement / picture / meme or post. It seems that no matter the source, the topic or in many cases even the sentiment of it people will have some sort of negative comment to say. This is leaking into supposedly professional platforms such as LinkedIn. I feel that LinkedIn should possibly play a bigger part in monitoring whether a post is profession related or politically charged (with little relevance to the person's job e.g if they are MP's or Campaigners of course this would be material which would be highly relevant to their jobs.) 

You can't persuade by arguing.

And so to my point, if we are to utilise social media to better the world first we need to understand that we need to learn to communicate meaningfully. It seems that we are 'supporting' each other with a no substance 'well done', 'stay strong', 'be kind' and so on.  In the opposite scale - it's offering unsolicited or aggressive (including passive aggressive tones e.g sarcasm ) retorts. 

Let me just say - I understand why people are angry, I get it. We all have all been given freedom to speak with less repercussions via a screen. We are exposed to a lot more people from all walks of life and locations outside of our usual social network from social media. We are all frustrated from being taught from a young age to act in ways which is more socially acceptable (but not necessarily in our hearts of hearts what we want to do) and yet now, we have been handed out the FREEDOM to speak and be heard! Hallelujah! But before you type away on your laptop/ tablet or phone, stop and ask yourself 'what is the purpose of my reply?' - if your answer is to cause and argument or to let out frustration - then I would seriously consider for your own benefit to simply ignore it and direct your energy somewhere else. IF however - your answer is 'they need to know / change needs to be made / they need more information' then go ahead and reply - WITH a calm attitude. 

Let me tell you - no one feels good after an argument - with a stranger or with a loved one. It creates anxiety, stress and frustration but to name a few negative emotions. When it comes to topics of Brexit, most of the Brexiteers were called 'stupid' or 'thick' which - if that is your viewpoint I would leave that a private discussion between you and friends. But - did calling them stupid change their behaviours or thoughts? No. Have you ever gone to clean the dishes only to be told to do so and suddenly you don't want to?  Just like James Corden pointed out (along with research and articles linked to the topic) fat shaming doesn't work. And neither does guilt - shaming someone into doing something. No one likes to be TOLD to do things, the point is you suggest and encourage them - get them interested the way you did. 

One of my big pet peeves is reading the 'I suggest you educate yourself'. It's massively patronising and super passive aggressive but mostly, invites not discussion but hostility. It already suggests you think you are a lot more well read on the topic than anyone else when you don't know the source of the author's comment.

If you want them to know more - correct them as you would like to be corrected. not only that, but be prepared to be educated yourself. Just because you THINK you know more on a topic than the next person doesn't mean you know it all. We can't all have extensive knowledge on every topic in the world. Start with "I used to think that too but I read a really interesting article / had an in-depth conversation with someone about xyz and wanted to do a bit more research myself. I found that this really changed my views here is the link let me know what you think!"

If you truly want an outcome of a productive discussion - speak to each other. Have a discussion, a debate, you know, an adult conversation. I have many a time placated someone of an extreme opposing opinion to me simply by starting with 'I know what you are saying, I understand.' Once you are able to explain that you are not simply going going to attack them with verbal abuse and vicious expletives people are more open to persuasion.  Make constructive suggestions and site your source to back your theory up. 

I would urge you all to try and make social media a lot safer for people to express real opinions and for you all to be more open to change.

If you really want to show support  to someone - instead of just saying 'great stuff' , follow it with 'how can I help? / join in?'

Instead of just attacking each other - explain your sources, make suggestions for further learning.  If someone is asking for more information, don't make them feel bad since their intentions are good.

Last thing I will leave you on is this, just respect each other. The fact someone has participated with your post - whether they reacted positively or negatively - the fact they have responded shows some level of interest in your statement. If we can start to engage with each other in a more responsible way, just think how much more we can all learn from each other if we simply shared information - we really could change the discourse of emotional heaviness we all feel. This blog is my pledge - I will practice what I preach. I will no longer engage in unyielding conversations and will practice 'Ahimsa' - in yogic terms - non-violence in actions, thoughts or words. 

Remember you are NOT going to win everyone round (and nor should we, we are not correct 100% of the time!). For your own mental wellbeing, know when to stop engaging if they are too resistant to listening.

Will you join me? 

Get in touch if you have comments! 

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