Tag Archives: communication

Venturing Outside the Echo Chamber

“Safety” in the Echo Chamber

The echo chamber is this awesome place where your thoughts are always validated, everyone in there with you thinks you’re a genius, and this warm, comfy blanket reassures you day in and day out that you’re safe.

But, word of caution, the price you pay for such a love-fest means you stagnate—you cease to learn and grow, and you might even become overly argumentative, or even hostile.

I guess that’s okay if you already know everything, but if you have a sneaky suspicion you don’t actually know it all, you might want to try to step out of the chamber for a minute.

Even though I knew so much (with good reason at the time), I have still been extremely lucky to have been well-rounded with friends with or without similar religious or spiritual beliefs to mine, from Mormons to Muslims to Buddhists to Atheists.

Being willing to openly discuss views and opinions with them has been wonderful to keep me growing, though up until a few years ago, I did so with my mind already made up. Even so, I wasn’t offensive and the seed for seeking truth in a bigger and better way than I had known before was planted.

Opposing Views

Surprisingly, social media influenced me during that time as well.

Getting out of your own echo chamber means having an opportunity to see another view, and maybe even changing your own.

For those who say you can’t change someone’s mind on social media, I say “BS!” My views on public breastfeeding totally flipped a 180!

To be fair, no one else could change my mind, but they did influence me to change my own mind!

With enough exposure to reasons for the opposing view, followed by a stranger’s suggestion to step back and honestly ask ourselves why we viewed it our way, I was able to discover “filter” I was seeing the situation through was completely off-base.

I’ve met others who have said their minds were changed through social media as well. Here is a fantastic example from a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church!

The key is to get out of our own echo chambers and be willing to understand another view, even if you still disagree in the end. If you can say, “I don’t agree with that but I understand why they view it that way,” then you’ve made it!

These connections with acquaintances or even strangers of different views can have lasting meaning.

Demographic Differences

Same when connecting with different demographics.

I have an amazingly open friend, with whom I relate on many spiritual and life experience levels, even though we have a big difference in age. Because of our similar mindful and universal law studies and practices, I recently assisted her in a Mindful Aging course she taught for people over two decades older than me.

Some similarities I appreciated were that I turn 40 tomorrow, a number I can’t even comprehend, and to see some of the concerns I have discussed so openly with them was extremely comforting and helped me shift my mindset around them. I can start now before I get to the age where they are just starting…

A surprise bonus connection was that one participant was caring for a spouse who had dementia, and she expressed the difficulty in not knowing who she was going to be interacting with from one moment to the next. Even though the circumstances were different, I related to her with my own experience with my ex and his multiple-personality-type behavior, which meant my asking “Who is it?” more times a day than I care to remember.

Between various views and demographics, when we leave our echo chambers with an open mind and heart, we soon learn we have a lot to gain from our differences, and we have so much more alike than we ever thought.

Share some of your own connection stories in the comments!

Why We Can’t Leave it Alone

“You Leave But You Can’t Leave it Alone”

That is the criticism every non-silent former Mormon (or other religious tribe where this is a common issue) hears from still-member friends and all the way up the the leaders of the Church.

This is why people can “leave the Church, but not leave it alone” and “tear apart their family” in the process.

(No doctrine, history, or “anti” info here. Just an analogy to answer the question.)

I know its hard for those who believe to be left by those they love and to feel attacked. I was one of them. I know exactly how that feels, both in times when truly hurts and times when you easily “let go and let God.” I know how it feels to trust God and love them anyway.

…Love, but not truly hear…

The Family’s Favorite Uncle

It’s always the person willing to expose the family’s favorite uncle for abuse he’s committed, who gets blamed for tearing the family apart, rather than the uncle who actually committed those crimes.

Why?

In many cases it’s because the other family members can’t fathom the accusations are true. Even if there is proof—they already KNOW he’s wonderful, no matter what evidence there is to the contrary (including evidence actually admitted by HIM).

Or because they value not rocking the boat more than they value the truth, in spite of the accounts of those who have been hurt by him. Rocking the boat directly affects them because it is negative and feels horrible.

Or because of the great good he also does in the world.

Or maybe they feel he “got better,” thus don’t feel its important everyone knows about it, even in order to be informed and aware for the safety of their children, just in case.

Or they have seen some of the evidence but feel his rebuttal debunked it to their satisfaction.

Or they heard some of the accounts of abuse and felt forced to believe the victim was lying, or that it didn’t matter as much as the greater unity of the family, or that the victim somehow caused the incident, or other discounting views of the victim’s experience.

Or any number of other reasons.

Tragically, the one who was willing to step out of the family’s/tribe’s status quo to raise awareness about the harm, is the one who gets the heat.

Now, you may feel this analogy does not apply—you may feel it is false accusation, and for this discussion that is okay! We are not getting into the proof or debate on that.

All I ask is that you try to understand that many others you love feel it does apply, and thus it warrants compassion at the very least (how would you feel being the one having knowledge of the favorite uncle’s abusive behavior?), or even better, open listening and honest understanding.

Does this Change Anything?

Considering this analogy, do you feel there is a way to now mend the bridge over the pain between the two perspectives?

Why or why not?

Under what terms?

Get Your Time and Energy Back by Zapping Negativity from 3 Directions

Get Your Time and Energy Back by Zapping Negativity from 3 Directions

It goes without saying, negativity from our own thoughts and negativity from the words and behaviors of others are no picnic and can have lasting effects. But these three approaches encompass all you need in order to be done with it faster, and even for good!

1—Cut it Out of Your Own Mind and Mouth

We are the only source of negativity we have 100% control over, but it’s not always easy to get ourselves to stop and be positive when we are stressed, depressed, or feeling a myriad of other emotions.

Here’s what I’ve found to be the most effective way to be positive in your own thoughts and words:

  1. Create an overall environment (surroundings, habits, people, health, etc.) of positive support. When your foundation is solid, you are best supported to be able to make unclouded efforts in removing and replacing negativity.
  2. Be self-aware enough to recognize when you start spewing negativity. This isn’t about saying everything is great when it isn’t. It’s about noticing and stopping the complaining, self-judgment and berating, and turning it around to higher truth as soon as you recognize the negativity.
  3. Love ALL of you. The positive, the negative, and everything in between. In fact stop seeing flaws, challenges, and failures as negatives all-together.

2—Stand Firm in Your Confidence

When negativity comes from other sources, it’s our self-doubt that actually makes us give in to their attacks. If you say to me, “You really should have gotten a 2nd opinion on that hair today,” I will likely feel insecure about the comment because I do not have 100% flawless confidence in my hair every day. It would fester until I call my sister and vent how rude you were, and you clearly don’t have a clue about me and why would you treat me like that?!

Conversely, if you come up to me and snidely tell me I am the ugliest leprechaun you’ve ever seen, I might wonder what is wrong with you, but I’m not going to be upset about it the rest of the day. Your statement doesn’t faze me at all because I know without a shadow of a doubt that it’s completely untrue, thus I know with complete certainly that the problem is with you. No matter what you say, I will never be convinced I am an ugly leprechaun. It’s so absurd it’s a complete non-issue.

The principle works the same for any situation where it may not be as absurd as the leprechaun example, but you know the truth just as surely.

Standing firm in your confidence means either you are absolutely certain about your position, thus don’t need to take offense, or it could also mean you are okay if you discover you are “wrong,” as described next.

3—Don’t Make Everything Mean Something

When someone draws to your attention a bright green piece of broccoli between your front teeth, you might get that twang of embarrassment in the pit of your stomach, and not want to look your friend in the eye for a while, especially if it’s not a friend, but, say, an interviewer for a job. You might feel embarrassed, but you can practice being okay with mishaps like that, and again, learn not to see them as mishaps or flaws. So what if there is a green food remnant in your teeth? All it means is there is a green food remnant in your teeth. It might mean you didn’t look in the mirror. So what?

What if you state an opinion on a heated topic and someone attempts to discredit it, especially if they are rude in doing so? First of all, I’d be very choosy which of those you respond to and which you just ignore, especially on social media. Some people are such antagonists, it’s not worth your breath. But, in any other case, you might want to lash back because you now feel attacked and unheard. Or you might feel stupid because they actually made a really good point you can’t deny.

If you practiced positivity and understanding in your approach to the conversation in the first place, in other words you were civil, it’s a lot easier to handle, because you’re not already coming from an emotionally heightened state.

Either way, though, you don’t have to make their disagreement about you being attacked, instead, you can more clearly see their need to attack is an issue with them. Or if their point is valid, you don’t have to make it about you being stupid, rather make it about the fact they made a good point and you can respect that, even if it doesn’t change your view.

When you take the extraneous meaning out of events, and stay focused on the actual conversation, you can deal with them without emotion and with a level head.

Take these to heart and enjoy a more positive and guilt-free dialogue! For more support, the tools in the Joyful JuJu Kit are developed to help you negate the negativity within yourself and enjoy a much more enjoyable experience in life!

To Be or Not to Be a Real Friend

Real Friends Mean Joy and Pain

Happy womanTo have close or even moderate friendships, is to be vulnerable to misunderstandings and being hurt—because we care.

I had a couple of uncomfortable incidences with two different friends last week that were hurtful and/or frustrating. We all experience these once in a while, and how we deal with it determines how detrimental or actually beneficial the experience can be.

One of the incidents involved my friend, “Rachel.” She and I are working on a joint venture project with two other business women. At our recent meeting, Rachel, starting discussing something in a negative light, that another woman and I are associated with. Rachel has talked to me about this previously, and I sympathize with her views and have no problem discussing it with her …privately. Because we were in a group, it turned into more of gossip-type venting, so I needed to speak up and tell her this wasn’t the appropriate time nor place to talk about it.

It was uncomfortable, but we moved on. As the meeting went on and we were all starting to get tired and snippy, I snapped at Rachel when she had a date conflict that was personal rather than business-related, as if only a business-related conflict was “worthy” of us changing the whole thing around, especially since we are all “serious business women.” It wasn’t terrible, but it was certainly outside of how I like to address conflicts and discuss issues with people.

We moved on quickly, but after a couple minutes when I had had a moment to relax, I apologized for snapping and told her we do all value our personal lives as much as our businesses lives, and we began to discuss other solutions. She appreciated the apology and again, we moved on.

After everyone else left, Rachel and I had a chat about what happened. I apologized again and acknowledged that I had snapped at her unnecessarily. She also brought up the initial incident and acknowledged that she was out of line bringing that topic up in this meeting. She didn’t like that I had to tell her to stop, but she knew it was the right thing to do. She then expressed how she felt I am a great leader, which was so nice to hear, especially after potential conflict. We ended on a great note, with our friendship intact.

What worked to help our exchange and preserve our friendship, and actually make it even better, is that:

  • instead of getting offended by the other person (or staying offended), we each looked at ourselves and saw where we might have been selfish, rude, or inappropriate and sincerely acknowledged our mistake
  • we tried to understand the other person’s perspective and feelings rather than just our own
  • instead of holding a grudge, we brought the discomfort out in the open, said what needed to be said, then hugged and made up
  • we looked for solutions to the individual issues
  • we held our friendship, which is really our respect and love for each other, higher than our hurt or offense

The other incident was on a strictly personal level with my dearest friend this week, and we had to follow the same principles to get through the hurt, over the issue, and to a place where we are okay.

Preserving our friendships through those respectful principles is one of the greatest things we can do for each other to show we care! And we feel much better, much sooner as well!