Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison
greensh

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Reacting to Big Discussions

There are some big societal discussions going on in the blogosphere right now. The topics are BIG. They are a combination of million person trends and person anecdotal sharings. Lots of people have something to say. Their intended audience is somewhere between the million people and the person sitting next to them. The topic of the discussion, when it is healthy, ultimately has a request submitted to the target audience. I’ll categorize this as the “incoming request”. Frankly, I find such discussions to be challenging, but I am coping by applying some personal guidelines that I would like to share.

• Sometimes a discussion does not apply to you at all. The hallmark of this is that you will have zero emotional reaction. Consider if the incoming request applies to you. If not, cool, move on with your life.

• Sometimes a discussion does apply to you, but you aren’t fully aware of it. The hallmark of this is that you will have a strong emotional reaction. The reaction may be defensive: full of blustering explanations and “but what about X” retorts. There is a wonderful opportunity here! Listen to the incoming request. Attempt to honor it. At the same time be really honest with yourself. Your emotional reaction is a red flag something should be done.

• Sometimes the discussion does apply to you and you are fully aware of it. The hallmark of this is that you will have little defensive emotional reaction. You may feel regret at past deeds, or sadness for the part that your large group plays in the grievance, but this is the healthy empathetic reaction. You are probably complying with the incoming request. Don’t be angry that you are being asked again. Know that the incoming request is for a larger group, and you are already on board. Keep on doing what you’re doing.

Your emotional reaction is the key. Remember, defensiveness is a red flag. It may be that the incoming request is unreasonable, and there are fair grounds to agree to disagree, but the big societal discussions almost always have some truth at their heart. This separates personal discussions from the big discussions with big truths. This big truth drives the larger emotion of the discussion, and your own emotion should reveal the truth of your place in the discussion.
Tags: discussion, societal
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