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When You Disagree With The Constitution - Fridays with Ferne

What do you do when you fundamentally disagree with your country’s constitution? How do you cope with the anger that is building inside of you? The good news is you have options.

Tune into today’s episode of Fridays with Ferne to figure out what those options are. While this episode was inspired by recent events, it also pertains to the broader question of what to do when you disagree with rules someone imposes on you.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Kim Ades: Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and The Co-founder of The Journal That Talks Back. Today you have joined us for an awesome episode of Fridays with Ferne, where I invite my daughter, Ferne Kotlyar to come onto the podcast and have a really good discussion.

Usually she comes to the call with some kind of question, some kind of case, some kind of thing for us to discuss. So Ferne, welcome.

[00:00:33] Ferne Kotlyar: Hello! How are you today?

[00:00:36] Kim Ades: I'm good, I'm good. Excited to be talking to you and having this conversation.

[00:00:42] Ferne Kotlyar: Me too!

[00:00:42] Kim Ades: What's on your mind today?

[00:00:44] Ferne Kotlyar: So today I wanted to talk about something that I think is on a lot of people's minds. As we know, there's been a new constitution change, not in Canada, but in a country very nearby to us. And I guess I wanted to ask what you do when you fundamentally disagree with a law in your country. How do you cope with the fact that, I mean, in my opinion, we're moving backwards in time.

I think I'm not the only one to say that I feel like, you know, this law change has been very emotional and distressing.

[00:01:29] Kim Ades: Disturbing.

[00:01:30] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah. How do you deal with that? Those feelings that you feel like you may not have any control or power over.

[00:01:36] Kim Ades: Yeah. And you know, we're gonna talk about it a little bit more broadly. Okay? So in this case, I don't wanna discuss how people feel about, you know, pro-life, pro-choice. Like, that's not really the conversation.

The conversation is what do you do when there's a law or a rule or a way of being in your environment that you have to abide by, and if you don't, there's a very serious negative repercussion. What do you do? And when that law fundamentally clashes with your values, how do you handle it? What do you? What are your options?

Well, the first thing is that you look at why it upsets you and you try to understand what it means for you and where the upset comes from. Does it come from the fact that people aren't taking you into consideration? Does it come from the fact that people are seeing things from a very myopic point of view? Does it come from the fact that-- what you described as moving backwards, we're going back to an older state of life that isn't so progressive.

So let's really take a look at where's the source of your struggle, for starters. And again, it could be that you're living under the roof of your parents and your parents have this rule that you have to be home by 11 and it bothers you, and you feel like it's very restrictive and you feel like it's not allowing you to be who you are and the way you wanna be living and make your own decisions, etc. Right?

So I'm making a few maybe broad comparisons, but I think it's very important for us to do that. So what do we do in those circumstances? We always have options. So option number one is to get involved in the process to overturn certain decisions. So get involved in politics, understand the issues, understand what other people have what their point of view is that doesn't coincide with yours.

What are their concerns? Where are they coming from? Why is it important to them? Because if we don't understand somebody else's point of view, we certainly can't work towards making their interests addressed. So usually when somebody's on this side of the equation and we're on the other side of the equation, what we feel is this really huge wide gap, this huge separation. And what we wanna do is try to decrease the separation.

The way we decrease the separation is by really trying to understand the other point of view. Whether we agree or not is not the issue. Try to understand the other person's point of view, where they're coming from, what matters to them, why they care so much, why they feel so heated about it, etc.

So we need to understand the other person's point of view. And by the way, that equips us to be able to have better discussions, it equips us to be able to go to the table and negotiate more effectively. If that's what we're doing, it equips us to come up with laws that are more accommodating to all parties involved, etc.

So number one is we need to go and learn what the other party has to say and be open to hearing, instead of hearing and being closed off or hearing and disagreeing and fighting back. Right? So we need to hear with open ears and open eyes.

The second thing that we wanna do is we wanna make decisions from there and say, what do we wanna do with this information? We have options. So in the case of a young person, living at home under the parents' rules, let's say they're 18 and they have the ability to move out, they can choose to stay and live with those rules, they can choose to stay and negotiate new rules, or they can choose to leave.

And those same decisions apply when we're talking about the constitution. When we're talking about something huge and big like that, we have choices.

[00:05:25] Ferne Kotlyar: You're suggesting that people can leave the country completely?

[00:05:28] Kim Ades: A hundred percent.

[00:05:29] Ferne Kotlyar: As an option?

[00:05:30] Kim Ades: Of course you can leave the country as an option, just like you can leave the house if you don't like your parents' rules, or you can find a way to collaborate and discuss and get involved in the process, and come to the table and negotiate and have discussion and submit new laws and options. So we can decide how we wanna play any game.

One way to play a game is to say, okay, so this is the rule. I'm not gonna give it a whole lot of attention. I'm gonna go live my life, or I'm gonna go to the states that are more accommodating and coincide with my values. Right? I can do that too.

It's kind of like not everyone's gonna be your friend. You're gonna pick friends who are more aligned with you. So you might wanna pick living in a state or a country that is more aligned with you, right? So we can choose to just not get involved.

The other option is we can choose to leave. And the third option is we can choose to say, "well, this matters to me and I think we need to make a stand for it". But we can't make a stand for everything, right? We can't fight every fight, we can't fight every battle. We have to decide if this is the battle that's worth fighting for us, if it matters enough to us. If it is, get involved, have a say.

[00:06:49] Ferne Kotlyar: And what happens if you're a victim of that law?

[00:06:53] Kim Ades: Yeah, if you're a victim of that law, that's a huge problem. And before you're a victim of that law, again, we wanna have options. And if let's say you're pregnant and you don't wanna be pregnant and you want to have an abortion option, then we wanna look around at what our options are, where can we make that happen legally and safely. And so that might be the impetus to make that move or that change.

And if we're negatively affected to such a degree that we feel like we need to come back and help other women in that state, then that's what we need to do. But what I'm really trying to say is, you're talking about an issue that is global in nature, or, you know, it affects the country... But what I wanna say is that all decisions are similar.

[00:07:46] Ferne Kotlyar: All decisions?

[00:07:48] Kim Ades: All decisions are similar. We can decide how we wanna interact with what's on the table. We can decide if we want to walk away, we can decide if we want to grapple, we can decide whether or not we want to just accept things as they are. Right? So every decision is similar. We get to decide how we wanna play. And so the question becomes, am I playing in a way that I feel good about?

[00:08:15] Ferne Kotlyar: And the question is also, are there only always three options? To staying ignored, to walk away or to fight.

[00:08:23] Kim Ades: Well, if you agree with the decision, then you're staying and being completely peaceful. Right? So there's a fourth decision, right? So of course, a fifth decision is do everything in your power, and not everything is in your power, but do everything in your power, not to be a victim of that circumstance.

But the issue is that in this case, you know, I've given you a few options, but in every situation, in every decision, we have to decide how much this matters to us and how we are going to play the game.

And one of the most important things that I think is relevant here is when we fast forward and we look back, and we say, are we proud of the way we handled this? Was walking away something I feel good about?

Or when I fast forward my life and I look back and I think to myself, this is something I should have stood up for, this is something I should have grappled with, this is something I should have negotiated for, this is something I should have gotten involved with.

Or, man, I spent too much time grappling with the wrong people, having the wrong discussions and beating my head against the wall. I could have used that time more effectively. And it would've been more useful for me to go move away and spend my time, effort, energy focused on the things and the people that are more aligned.

So, that's the decision that's on the table. How do I play with this? How do I interact with this? How do I personally deal with it? And I need to be able to look back and say "the way that I dealt with it felt really good to me. I feel proud of what I did and how I handled it. It was the right move for me".

[00:10:07] Ferne Kotlyar: Absolutely. And what happens when... I know things get complicated in terms of like, other people, if you have dependents or a job, or like, there are a lot more factors involved than just I can either get up and leave or I can stay in--

[00:10:24] Kim Ades: Yeah, and again, there are other factors involved and we have to decide how important this factor is for us. Is it a... Deal breaker? That's the word. Is it a deal breaker for us? If it's a deal breaker, then you can decide to get up and go, or you can decide that everything else doesn't matter and you're gonna get in and make a difference.

And so you have to make those decisions. And like, there are complexities with everything. There are complexities with every decision you make, you know? When you decide to have kids, that's complex, your life changes. And because they are so important to you, you make the changes that are required to raise your kids in a way that is reflective of how you would like to raise them.

This is no different. This is complex too, if it's important to you, decide how you're gonna make a decision. If it's not important to you, continue on. Right but if it is very important to you, then you're gonna make space and time to address it appropriately. Just like when you have kids and you're maybe living in a neighborhood that isn't ideal for raising kids, you might consider moving.

[00:11:31] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah, absolutely. So, let's say you decide to put it aside, how do you deal with kind of the anger associated with it, that someone can make such a decision?

[00:11:45] Kim Ades: Well, again, so you have anger, great. What are you gonna do with it? Because having anger is an indicator that this matters to you. So what you need to do is stop for a minute and say, how much does this mean to me? Because living with anger isn't useful, but anger is an indicator of level of importance, of how much it means to you.

So if you live with anger over a long period of time and you can't handle it anymore, if it's never going away, then at some point you kind of say, "okay, so this anger has been eating away at me for a long time. Doing nothing isn't working for me. That's not the right option".

[00:12:27] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah.

[00:12:27] Kim Ades: Now it's time for me to make a new decision.

[00:12:30] Ferne Kotlyar: Absolutely.

[00:12:31] Kim Ades: Right? So anger is an indicator, anger isn't a way of life. Anger is like a signal or a sign that says, "okay, so something's not sitting well with me. I need to look at that more closely".

[00:12:45] Ferne Kotlyar: Interesting. All right. Well, we have some tools now for this new--

[00:12:51] Kim Ades: So I'm gonna ask you a question. This law came into play, it made you angry. How did you process it? Did you wanna do something about it? Or did you decide, "thank God I live in Canada and I don't have to deal with that"?

[00:13:05] Ferne Kotlyar: Well, a bit of both, right? Like, I am very glad I live in Canada and I personally don't think that I would want to move to the States. I feel very glad about that, but I was angry. I am angry! I personally don't really understand how someone could make that decision for you. But yeah, in terms of doing something about it, I guess it's a bit tough. Like, what can I do from here other than just support the people there?

[00:13:36] Kim Ades: Well, you're bringing up an issue, right here on your podcast. In a way you're doing your part. You're bringing up an issue and we're inviting listeners to decide how important this issue is and decide how they are going to handle it.

So you're doing a part. Can you do more? Maybe, it depends how important it is for you, right? It depends how much time and energy you wanna devote to this. If it's super important, you will. Just like whatever you're studying in school is super important to you, so you're spending a lifetime devoted to that subject. So you have to decide how important this subject is to you.

[00:14:09] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you for your advice. I think it was very timely. [Chuckles]

[00:14:16] Kim Ades: You're welcome. Yes. And again, I feel like this applies to a lot of things. It doesn't just apply to this one constitutional issue. It applies to how we interact with a lot of decisions that are made on our behalf. Do they sit with us properly? If not, what are we gonna do about them?

[00:14:33] Ferne Kotlyar: Absolutely.

[00:14:35] Kim Ades: For those of you who are listening, if you have something that you are grappling with or trying to figure out, and you want some help, reach out to us, 'cause we'd love to discuss this on the podcast. Ferne, how do they reach you?

[00:14:47] Ferne Kotlyar: Please email me! My email address is Fernekotlyar@live.com.

[00:14:56] Kim Ades: And you can reach me at Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com. Would love to hear what you think about this constitutional issue. And I'd really like to hear about whether or not you're gonna let it lie, whether you're gonna get in there and do something about it, or whether you're going to actually get up and move, because it bothers you that much.

Please reach out to us. I'd love, love, love to hear from you. In the meantime, have a great day and we will see you next week.

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