3 Tips For Talking To People On The Opposite Side Of Your Cause

Here are 3 simple ways to remain strong in your convictions and prepare yourself for the challenges you’ll face when you engage in advocacy.
Activists protest on the steps and plaza of the Supreme Court after the confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, on Capitol Hill, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Activists protest on the steps and plaza of the Supreme Court after the confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, on Capitol Hill, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Since 2016, many people in America have been trying on advocacy and social justice work for size. For many of you who are new to this game, you might feel like Goldilocks did when she came upon that little house. Some issues are too big, some issues fit you just right. Some political messages leave you with that lumpy oatmeal taste in your mouth, others send a message so clear that it is just like the perfect bowl of mush.

When you start your advocacy journey, you will run into people who will tell you that you are wrong, you are using the wrong language, or that you won’t be successful. Here is how to engage in political conversations with someone on the opposite side of your cause.

Each one of us has something that we feel passionate about. In advocacy, we must be strong in our convictions and prepared for all the support and opposition that will inevitably come our way when we dare to stand up and speak our voice.

There are three simple things you can do to remain stalwart in your views:

1. Learn From Every Interaction

This doesn’t mean dig in your heels and stubbornly argue your point until you are red in the face and panting for breath. It means keep fighting for what you believe in and remember that every single interaction with friends, family, and people in power is an opportunity for learning. Every conversation on social media is an opportunity to see the nuance of how someone else thinks. Being courageous in this way can be a game changer in advocacy and politics.

2. Hold Your Ground

Perhaps the last two years has left you feeling restless, stubborn, and maybe afraid to take a stand. This is the moment where you really tap into your passion to take a stand for what you believe in. This is the time when you engage in what Danielle LaPorte calls “ruthless compassion”. You can hold your ground, take a stand for the one thing that you know ignites your true fire and do it with compassion for yourself and others. Contrary to popular discourse if you refresh your Twitter feed, you don’t have to fight tooth and nail with others to take a stand.

3. Defend Yourself Using Emotional Intelligence

You do not need to build a wall. You do not need to build a moat. In fact, defending your position has nothing to do with creating barriers around you or your opinion. Defending your position is all about vulnerability and honesty in voicing your true passions and then defending why you feel that way.

Creating relationships built on trust and mutual respect leads to success in advocacy and social justice. Looking for the subtleties in how we communicate about the issues we care about allows for dialogue and helps us avoid hatred. When you are weary, keep fighting for what you believe in. Don’t change to please others. Remember that you aren’t supposed to win everyone over every single time. Hold your ground, take a stand, and defend your position with an open heart and an open mind. You will be surprised at your social justice and advocacy successes when your convictions are held with courage and courteous goodwill.

This is part two in a series of articles providing activism tips. Read part one.

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Opinion // Activism