Often when we hear great advice about changing behavior for the better, our brains respond in a funny way. A voice in our head says, “that’s a great point. I can think of all sorts of other people that should change in this way!”
It’s often hard to look at ourselves and see the ways we can change.
The tenor of political dialogue often means that no matter how pure our intentions, we occasionally fall into the trap of espousing unreasonable framings of our position, vilifying our perceived opposition, and cherry-picking details to prove a point, rather than choosing the hard road of seeking accuracy, curiosity, and nuance.
Probably all of us do it from time to time. The most important part of being a Considerate is starting with ourselves, to become more-often an example of what we want to see change in politics around us.
To do that, we have a challenge for everyone reading. It takes five minutes and will be hugely illuminating.
Open up your social media accounts that you use most and take a look at your feed: what you tweeted, posted on Facebook, or commented on.
Look through each post over the past few weeks or months about politics or culture, and ask yourself three questions:
Is this a fair and accurate representation of what’s going on?
Could a reasonable person look at this and raise objections to the framing?
Does this cherry-pick details and/or take the actions of a few and blanket-apply them to an entire group, political party, etc?
Be really honest with yourself. Nobody’s looking over your shoulder and nobody’s going to deduct points. This is about helping us all be more what we want to be, and what we want the world to be.
When you find posts/tweets/comments of yours that might have an unfair representation or framing of an issue, just note it in your mind. Remember that this isn’t who you want to be. Take a quick look at the Considerates’ Pledge and promise yourself that next time, before you post, tweet, or comment, you’ll just ask yourself:
“Will this contribute to making politics more what I want it to be, or less?”
Such a question will help absolutely all of us be more like the leaders we want to be.