Yesterday night, I watched a Dutch television show called ‘vaccinatie vetes’ - which would translate to something like ‘vaccination fights’.
The show was about people who weren’t vaccinated, and showed how they were ridiculed, scapegoated, and pretty much exiled from their communities. Some of them were reconnected with their vaccinated friends in the show, but for others, the door was kept shut.
And even though I’m vaccinated and would love others to do the same for the sake of our society, I was left with a deep sense of grief after watching the show.
I’m really worried about the polarization that is happening in the world, that I experienced for the first time on a deep level when Trump was elected and that now only seems to spread.
And what I find particularly worrying is how we tend to stop communicating with the people we disagree with, and are willing to excommunicate our family members or friends over this single issue, seemingly forgetting all the good things we share with them.
So instead of sharing a list of things that I’ve learned or love as I normally do in this email, this is my appeal for opening up more dialogues in a divided world - and some things that have helped me do that.
And especially since I know this is a sensitive topic for most of us, I would love to hear from you about any experiences or challenges you have with this.
INSIGHT 1: REALIZE THAT WE ARE ALL COMMUNICATING FROM A PLACE OF FEAR & DEFENSIVENESS
Whenever we have a conversation about vaccinations (or American presidents, or any other tense topic) with someone with an opposite view, we tend to communicate from a place of fear - whether that is fear of getting sick with covid, or fear of the government taking control of you, or fear of putting unknown substances into your body.
You can probably feel your body tense up when you even think about having a conversation with someone you don’t agree with. When we are in a state of fear, we literally are less capable to see the big picture, or think creatively and constructively - and our tendency is to become super defensive.
So the very first thing we need to do is to acknowledge this, and to create ways to make it safe for everyone to express opinions and perspectives.