By: Fran Bulloff, VTI President
If you are like me and my family, you have experienced repeatedly the disappointment associated with cancelling big events, travel opportunities, and everyday get-togethers with others these last six months. You are also probably hesitating to make new plans which may also be cancelled or postponed indefinitely. These are perfectly understandable responses to the coronavirus global pandemic around us.
There is a fair amount of political discourse in America these days about our “cancel culture,” which is something entirely different but no less disappointing. In a cancel culture, one side refuses to allow opposing ideas or speech. One side believes only its ideology is valid while anything else is not. Our democracy is built on a foundation of certain fundamental liberties which include free speech, press, religion, and assembly. Our Constitution does not allow us or the government to censor or bully or suppress others based on their beliefs or practices; we separate religion from politics; we recognize the right to protest and disagree publicly as well as privately. But even these liberties are not unlimited, particularly when they incite riot, cause irreparable harm, or so favor one point of view that they suppress or criminalize other points of view. In the United States right now there is so much finger pointing across both sides of the aisle. There is a pervasive mistrust of others that fuels each side of the political spectrum wishing to hear only its own voices. Such a lack of respect and desire to shut off communication are dangerous to a free society.
Validation is the antidote to the cancel culture mentality. Validation depends on a caregiver’s willingness to shed any judgmental attitudes about the ideas and behaviors of the person being validated, to use empathy and trust to communicate, to unite rather than divide. A person using the validating attitude does not force her point of view on another nor silence opposition. Being open, available, and non-judgmental is not just for disoriented very old adults.
If you would like to develop a Validating attitude, visit our website for new online resources.