“When do we use an exclamation point and when do we use a question mark?” John Balzar, Los Angeles Times
The world is in a divisive place right now—not that it has ever really been a place of harmony. However, the acrimony and partisan-ness seems to have reached epic proportions. It feels like everything can be an argument. Everyone feels picked on, no matter where you stand. When people are feeling picked on, we go on the defensive and when we are feeling defensive we can’t open our minds or hearts.
Susan wrote, “More and more, I watch our world being transformed into an energy of arrogance and anger. This is not a good scenario for creating a more loving world.”
It is vitally important that we work on creating a more loving world, no matter how oppressive the divisiveness feels. There is so much disinformation around, so many complicated topics that are reduced down to a single meme, that it seems that we are becoming more misinformed even while factual information is more available than ever before.
So when you react defensively, stop and think things through. Do you want to promote disagreement or do you want to promote loving exchange? Susan said, “If you truly want to affect the opinions of others, it seems to me that the language of love is the most effective way to go. The language of stridency doesn’t change anyone’s mind…it only solidifies it into the opposing point-of-view.”
When you are responding to what you perceive as an attack, are you going reply with an exclamation point—indicating stridency and righteousness—or are you going to respond with a question mark—opening the door to conversation?