With the political season in full swing, there is great likelihood that some relationships will be affected because of differences in political beliefs and the respective politicians the people are supporting. Some social psychologists, however, are warning that these falling outs could result in serious repercussions.
THERE is a current spontaneous trend which says that it is okay to lose a friend or a family member if his or her political stand condones or supports policies and beliefs that put human lives in danger or even possible death.
Because of technology and social media, the diversity of opinions and easy access to information have made politics too divisive and toxic that the social rift is becoming more evident than ever and continues to worsen.
In order to escape the cycle of rancor, many opted to temporary deactivate their social media accounts. For others, dropping friends and family members with conflicting views is only the right thing to do.
Social justice warriors argue that if morality is at stake and individuals refuse to acknowledge their wrong despite presenting relevant facts and evidence, then cutting them off is already morally justifiable.
However, this action poses a more dangerous dilemma and does not actually solve the problem in the long term.
Why ostracism is bad?
Unfriending, unfollowing, or cutting ties with your friends or a family member can be considered a form of ostracism, which is a manner of rejection. And experts have a bleak warning on this action.
According to a 2011 study by Dr. Kipling Williams from Purdue University, exclusion or being ostracized by people, even by a stranger for a short period of time, registers pain the same way as physical pain.
The social psychologist also said that individuals will try hard to get included as a form of coping mechanism. They will often engage in new behaviors to belong, sometimes in a provocative and aggressive way.
"They will go to great lengths to enhance their sense of belonging and self-esteem," Williams emphasized. "At some point, they stop worrying about being liked, and they just want to be noticed".
William also flagged that ostracized individuals are more prone to join or support extreme groups, warning against the possible dangers these group pose if they band together.
"These groups provide members with a sense of belonging, self-worth and control, but they can fuel narrowness, radicalism and intolerance, and perhaps a propensity toward hostility and violence toward others," the professor said.
"When a person feels ostracized, they feel out of control, and aggressive behavior is one way to restore that control. When these individuals come together in a group there can be negative consequences."
Hence, ostracizing our friends and family members because of their political beliefs is a detrimental thing to do since we are pushing them further to the extremes thus making us the real enablers of evil.
And despots have knack for weaponizing outcasts for their own personal benefits and political agenda.
It is safe to assume that we all wanted what is best for our country, but how we usher that prosperity remains a debate. Everyone seem to have a different approach and style, often than not, at the expense of other people.
But if change is constant and nothing in politics is permanent, then it is equally safe to say that supporters of flawed ideologies, oppressive policies, or dubious politicians are only a collateral damage—victims rather than suspects.
And like an ill person, they can be cured, rehabilitated, and transformed with the right help, support, and guidance.
Talk to each other
Communication is always the key. A sound civil discourse is the only way we can mend the broken bonds we have incurred.
The rational thing to do is to understand the humanity of the people we disagree with. Only by recognizing that we were raised to think differently from one another can we truly help each other cultivate a better working society.
If we allow ourselves to cancel each other, especially with the people we hold dear, then the despots have won in their agenda of dividing us. And those in power love nothing more than a citizenry too busy fighting among themselves.
Our goal should be about our ability to enlighten and win more hearts and minds no matter how difficult it may seem to let the other party understand our sides. One person at a time is a better cause than no one at all.
Tags: #elections, #behaviors, #politics, #socialrelationships