Recently, I have drastically decreased what I share politically on social media and who I choose to share those opinions with.  Like so many other conservative leaning women, with views that may not see in line with opinions held by the media or those in my community, I found myself feeling reluctant to express my opinions for fear of back lash from the small community it which I live.  It is human nature to want to be liked, but I’ve found out recently, that I would much rather prefer to be respected. Respect is a character trait and is earned.  Respect may attract fewer likes on Instagram, but it isn’t nearly as fleeting as superficial likes.  I am no longer afraid to share my conservative opinions, and when hearing an opinion opposite from my own, I do my best to show that same level of respect I would like to receive.  I think conservative women everywhere can set the bar high when it comes to respecting the opinions of others.  Setting by example is the best way to get your message across clearly and gives you a better chance at making changes in your community, if that is your goal.

There are more conservative minded people than you may think. Liberals are not asked to defend their liberal views, why should us conservatives feel like we can’t express our views.

Don’t be ashamed of your views, don’t worry if others make assumptions about you based on what they think your political party is most aligned with.  We find the group that “threatens to unfriend” people who support a candidate opposite from their own, are more than likely missing something in their own lives.  In the words of Margaret Thatcher, “If they attack you personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”  Ignore the noise of social media, and go calmly onward.  Politics should be classy, and as women we have a tremendous opportunity to reset this standard when it falls below bar.  Over sharing politics on social media can be cruel and often times makes those who are frustrated anyways, feel relevant. Sometimes that fight for relevancy can be all consuming and impair people ability to act rationally and frankly, politely.  Never sacrifice your manners and never drop to a level that is beneath you.  If someone is being ugly, be that much polite.

History is a great teacher of this lesson. Ronald Reagan was known as the Great Communicator, in large because when he spoke he spoke firmly, concise and to the point. He didn’t name call or bandy words, he spoke his truth and remained steadfast to his convictions. He wasn’t swayed by popular trends or the need to be accepted.  We can all learn a lot from the Gipper.

As I continue to find my own voice in today’s ever changing world, I am reminded that nothing positive can be accomplished if we seek the approval of others and let their opinions prevent us from expressing our own.  I also learn there is a significant value in educating ourselves on not only issues that we agree with, but issues we do not agree with.  Being educated on all aspects of an issue allows us to be objective decision makers.  There is nothing more powerful than a well-informed woman.

Melissa Havran is an educator, children’s book author, and history lover. She currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her son (Michael) and husband (Alex). Melissa enjoys traveling to historical sites throughout the country.

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