Healthy communications3 Tips to have healthier conversations this holiday season.

Ahh….the holidays – family, food and talk about the past election, where we may have very divided opinions about religion and politics. Here’s some tips for getting along with family through the holidays:

  1. Avoid certain subjects. Agree to keep conversations off of topics you don’t agree on, such as religion and politics or other volatile subjects. In fact, the other day, I just heard a radio show suggesting   ‘so anyway’…as a segway to whatever.
  2. Guided Conversations. Write on several papers topics to discuss that are fun and safe. Pick topics from the bowl to spur interesting conversations. An example, “Are you a cat person or a dog person and why?”
  3. Look for the value or higher intention.  When you can look for the positive intention or higher value – you release the need to argue. We may not agree on the how to’s of politics – but we can recognize the higher values being honored. For example, abortion is a very heated issue. On the one side – Democrats we should allow abortion and the Republicans adamantly opposed to abortion.

What is the higher value being honored?

For the democrats, the higher value is a woman’s right to choose what happens over her body (who doesn’t want to keep that power of choice over their body?).

For the republicans, the higher value is valuing life (how beautiful is that to value life?). Both of these values are important and valid.

When look for the higher value we recognize the other’s point of view– rather than being caught up in our own opinion and we can find the common ground to have healthier conversations.

A couple weeks ago, me and my brother sat and talked for 6 hours over philosophy subjects that we don’t agree on, but as we both recognized each other’s view – and the validity of that view – we had some great conversations about spirituality and how the world works. In the end we still didn’t agree – but we shared our experiences and views at a deeper level – and we had a great time enjoying the conversation.

If we can stay out of judgment and criticism – and enjoy where people they are at – recognizing that all of us are in process- we can find common ground and greater understanding, patience and compassion.

Here’s to Your Health, Happiness and Success this Holiday Season!

Holly Stokes, The Brain Trainer