Happy Full Moon in Gemini! The energy is all about being inquisitive and learning more about others, and yourself. Since today is Thanksgiving in America, which is a day for a lot of awkward social interaction for many, today’s post offers a suggestion to treat difficult interactions with difficult people like you are a journalist reporting on the facts. This assumes that the environment is a safe place to have these conversations. There are some ugly people/relatives in the world that don’t deserve your energy and attention. But for those relatives whom you do still care about, but who also have some opinions that are drastically different than yours, this could work.
Gemini is a very social and communicative sign, you might have felt it’s strong energy already! Gemini also helps remind us to be open minded, look at other people’s perspectives, and attempt to understand different ways of thinking about the world. This can be a very overwhelming time of year for some, and if you find yourself in that boat, try not to hide yourself away but figure out a way to change your perspective towards what is overwhelming you.
What do I appreciate about this time of year?
What do I look forward to most?
How can I really listen to what others are saying?
What is something I want to learn from them?
What is something others can learn about me?
What do we have in common?
If you face a holiday situation that is extremely challenging to you, first consider if you really need to attend. You are the best judge and creator of your own self-care. If you determine you want to go and try to make the best of things, invoke the duality of Gemini by creating an alter ego who is a reporter for a newspaper covering your holiday festivities. Be objective, ask lots of questions, and observe what others are saying and doing and how they are acting. If you find yourself placing judgment, remind yourself that you job is to remain neutral and to report each side of the story from their perspective.
The New York Times has a great article that backs this up. It includes an Angry Uncle Bot that allows you to practice these difficult conversations by asking questions in a way that doesn’t trigger anyone’s fight or flight responses. The article says, “Our political attitudes and beliefs are intertwined with our most basic human needs – needs for safety, belonging, identity, self-esteem and purpose – and when they’re threatened, we’re biologically wired to respond as if we’re in physical peril.” It also says:
“Questions are powerful because they make people feel safe, demonstrate respect, gather useful information, contribute to understanding, elicit empathy, build relationships and encourage self-reflection. Asking people about their own experiences in a nonjudgmental way is an especially good opening because it gives them an opportunity to talk about a subject they care and know more about: themselves.“
The bot also helps you reflect what you’ve heard back to the person you are talking with so that person feels heard and that you understand what what they are saying.
The article also delivers a clear message as to why this is important and necessary work:
“Given the challenge, it’s tempting to avoid political discussions in mixed company altogether. Why risk provoking your angry uncle when you can chat about pumpkin pie instead? The answer is that when we choose avoidance over engagement, we are sacrificing a critical opportunity and responsibility to facilitate social and political change.“
This work extends beyond tonight’s dinner table. It’s important that we use this energy on a regular basis so we can change the systems of oppression that continue to keep people down. Listening to others so they feel like they have been heard can help set the stage to empathize with where they coming from to choose the opinions that the have. It can also open the door to share your stories and struggles so they can build empathy for you. Once both sides have empathy, it might be easier to come together and think of solutions that could benefit everyone. While the Thanksgiving holiday has a lot problems I’m not going to address here, we can use this time as a way to lessen the divide that pushes us apart and build our empathy and understanding of people with opinions that differ from our own.
How to Have a Conversation With Your Angry Uncle Over Thanksgiving from the New York Times.