You’ve probably already thought of a person attending your Thanksgiving dinner with controversial political views, wondering how they could believe what they believe and how you’re going to dread the political dinner conversation. Let me be bold enough to invite the Clarity Compass to your Thanksgiving dinner. One of the most effective aspects of the Clarity Compass is the emphasis it puts on becoming clear about intentions, both your own and those you’re engaging with, as you try to navigate conflict-ridden situations. By doing this, you can stay in touch with the fact that while you may not agree with each other on the surface, your deeper intentions may be more in alignment than you think, and can therefore be the beginning of finding common ground.”
To do this, first think through your various intentions for the dinner. Among others, I’m imagining that you will likely be intending to be:
- Getting along with others
- Enjoying the company of family and friends
- Having a good meal
- Participating in an American tradition
However, as charged topics come up, such as the recent election, I’m imagining that several other intentions may arise, some of these intentions are conscious and deliberate while others are not:
- I want them to understand my position
- I want them to see where their thinking is off
- I may even see where their thinking is dangerous, so they need to be aware of this
- Probably the least conscious intention is, I want them to see where they are wrong and I am right
Notice where the two sets of intentions may be in conflict, particularly getting along with others versus helping them see the error of their ways. The good news is that you have the ability to choose how you act on your intentions (or choose not to act). Am I going to engage in the actions that support my intention of getting along? Or, am I going to engage in the actions that support my intention to be right?
The trickier question is even if I don’t need to be right, but have the intention of being honest and transparent, how do I meet my intention of being authentic with my desire to have a congenial Thanksgiving dinner? Here I invite you to practice transparency. I’m suggesting that you say what’s true for you by sharing both of your intentions: ‘I want to be open with my position, at the same time I want to have a happy Thanksgiving.” From there, you can navigate the conversation and make note of where your sharing your political position as well as acknowledging where you might want to take a breath, take a break from the conversation, or end the conversation altogether noting that the conversation might be putting the festive atmosphere at risk.
Mastery of the Clarity Compass does not always guarantee that you get the results you want, but bringing in some skills and tools may increase the probability of your having a Happy Thanksgiving!