This Century heralded Americans' love of reality TV shows. The recipe is straightforward -- villainy, controversy, deception, confrontation, and aggression played out at an extreme volume in a relatively normal context. Hyperbole for entertainment also found a cozy home in news outlets where shows like Hannity & Colmes (Fox News 1996-2009) set aside the traditional interview style for in-your-face accusations and character assassinations. And the pay-off was big. Hannity & Colmes was the second-highest-rated program in U.S. cable news for several years.
This context is vital in understanding why, at this time, when the only certainty is uncertainty, you find yourself perplexed by the volume of rants and attacks. After two decades of normalizing this behavior as acceptable "communication," many people lack experience with civil discourse. Opinion supersedes facts. Being right trumps bridging understanding. And communication has become a one-way street.
This moment in time will be remembered for the adaptability, ingenuity, improvisation, creativity, perseverance, and agility that enabled us to navigate the uncertainty. But imagine how much better things could be if this was also a moment of grace.
Here are seven acts of grace to make your corner of the world a little brighter for yourself and those around you.
ONE. Assume everyone is doing their best.
TWO. Tolerate imperfection.
THREE. Choose curiosity over criticism.
FOUR. Ask how you can help.
FIVE. Treat others the way you would like others to treat your parents, siblings, or children.
SIX. Make messages of appreciation a daily act.
SEVEN. Take a mental health break from media or individuals whose communication negatively impacts you.