Get Into The #1 Best Midterms Party
If you’re alive in 2022, despite what you may read or watch, you know you’re capable of feeling emotions that stretch beyond anger and fear. You are capable of joy, of sadness, of heartbreak and awe.
You probably feel this, at least in spurts watching Tik Tok, taking a walk with your dog, having lunch with your best friend or just listening to the birds.
Most of us are still uncomfortable with death. We’re longing for more love in our days. We’re nervous about paying the bills or maybe even having the cash for groceries next week. We’re hurting from the loss of a friendship or a loved one who has died. These are real human emotions and stories that we’re all living through.
Some say our human world is made up of beliefs and identities, and in the context of a recent election, there’s a lot of truth to that. But so often these beliefs and identities, especially in intense political times, are used to divide us, they conquer us and keep us separated and mis-understood.
We all hold our own measure of right and wrong, limitations and dreams, demons and heroes. We identify with these beliefs, they root us in categories of red or blue, native or foreign, religious or spiritual.
We also carry our identities, often without our consent or choice. These identities may be racial, religious, sexual, national, economic and ability or gender based. Our identities inform our beliefs and vice versa, they are intertwined and shape our experiences of the world.
The emotions we feel, however, exist outside of beliefs and identities. Our emotions are common. We are all designed to feel love, sadness, joy, fear, pain, pleasure… These are key ingredients of our stories, they add richness and wisdom and become gifts we can share with others.
These emotions are felt in our bodies and expressed in our creations. They may be blocked by our thoughts and beliefs or inaccessible for other reasons, but they’re always there and sooner or later they always come out. Sometimes they come out in a fit of violence and rage, sometimes they come out with love, art and connection, sometimes they show up as sadness or dis-ease, wearing us down from the inside.
Get to the point Ethan. This is dumb, obvious, inconsequential, who cares, what does this have to do with politics?
The human species survival depends on emotional intelligence to resolve our divisive conflicts.
Voting matters, get out there and cast your ballot. But I want to challenge you to consider your impact on society beyond your vote through everyday conversations and interactions with other people.
The structures of power and control in media and politics are designed to focus on and manipulate our individual beliefs and identities. These structures, however, can’t defeat the honest vulnerability of face to face live, raw emotions. Because those raw emotions connect all of us, regardless of our beliefs and identities.
When our emotions are offered space to come out and be expressed, in welcoming, live and virtual spaces, we discover paths to healing our divisions. Through mutual understanding we can flip the script on divisive manipulation.
As members of the human species we all have a responsibility to heal in this way, and when we do, everyone’s life gets better.
A script flipping conversation looks something like this…
1. Person A and Person B are having a conversation related to beliefs and/or identities.
2. Person A get’s curious about where these beliefs and identities come from. They ask Person B a series of honest questions… What is your history with these beliefs / identities? Who taught them to you? Why are they so strong? How do they affect you? What would happen if they changed or no longer existed?
3. Through this honest and respectful inquiry by Person A, Person B feels safe and heard enough to articulate their feelings and experiences behind these beliefs and identities. They may even find a critical way to consider why they believe what they do.
4. Then the roles swap and Person B gets curious about Person A’s beliefs and identities.
5. Both Person A and B share emotions and relatable stories to better understand the feelings behind their beliefs or lived experiences in a particular identity.
The emotions come out and connections are born through understanding the feelings and formative stories that inform us.
Understanding is the goal. Not agreement. By understanding, through shared emotion, we engage compassion and begin to advocate for each other’s real emotional needs. This is how we begin to heal our divisions.
Notice how the news or your social media feed highlights categories of belief and identity. We can make the choice to prioritize a new framing, beyond the screens, where we as people can be seen, felt, heard, held and healed regardless of our social labels.
I’m proud to be supporting a project called Generations Over Dinner that’s focused on bridging the age gaps we often live through and inspiring meaningful dialogs at dinner tables and zooms across the planet.
Ultimately emotional connection and understanding through honest, curious conversation are the roots of love. I believe we all want love in our lives.
After all, life with love is more fun, more interesting, more alive.
The love story is always the better story, heartbreak and all. Even if we’re just having these curious conversations with ourselves, we can find love within as we honestly consider all our beliefs, imperfections, strengths and scars.
So join the party. It’s not where the anger and fear is festering. It’s not a political party promoting a narrative of ‘us vs them’.
The best party is where the love is the strongest, where people across different identities and beliefs can still play, feel seen, understood and respected even if they don’t all agree. If you’ve ever experienced that strong love of shared understanding across difference, you know how good it feels.
Personally, I don’t want to go to any more single belief or single identity jams. I want to live in the spaces where our labels diverge and our emotions converge. Where we can all feel respected, held and heard.
If you also stand for love, for the sake of our species in this delicate time, have some script flipping conversations. Get curious about others who you don’t agree with, who are different from you.
Practice deepening your emotional intelligence by getting to mutual understanding with some new folks, and pass this message along if you agree. Because the best party isn’t political, it’s all love.