Updated: Jan 29
The information provided through Ask a Therapist is not intended to be a substitute for professional mental health therapy, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided is solely for educational purposes. We encourage you to call United Action for Youth Counseling Department at 319-338-7518 and set up an appointment with one of our licensed mental health professionals to further discuss concerns and treatment options. If you believe you are a danger to self or others please call 911 or the crisis hotline at 1-855-800-1239.
I think a lot of Americans are tired with the current state of affairs in our nation, no matter what political side they are on. You are not alone.
One of the biggest struggles with differing political views, especially with those close to us, is grappling with the idea that they have a completely different worldview and oftentimes moral view than you. It can be a disappointing realization. You think, “how can you think like this?! You really believe that?!” Ultimately, everyone has an individual belief system and we have to respect it (or accept it, whichever word you’d like to use).
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. Set them up! It’s perfectly OK and acceptable to begin any political discussion with a few guidelines – they help everyone involved, remember that. An example would look like this, “if there is yelling and/or verbal attacks, the discussion will end immediately.” Everyone should be given an opportunity to speak their thoughts without interruption or repercussion. Voice volume and tone should remain calm, cool, and collected.
Pick your battles. If you know Uncle John is coming over for dinner and he is known for heated political discussions; make yourself busy that evening. If you enjoy participating in these discussions – BOUNDARIES! It’s also helpful to avoid hot-button issues.
Focus on facts and evidence that back up your opinions. That could involve doing some research on topics beforehand. Make sure your sources are reputable and mostly neutral. News sources can lean heavily towards one political party so be cautious. It’s recommended to get your information from a neutral source that provides facts from both sides.
Lastly, focus on the person and not the politics. Remember that underneath all that political mumbo-jumbo is someone whom you care about and have a history with. Is your relationship with this person really worth jeopardizing? Try to separate their political views from the actual friend/relative they are. Good luck, Tired!