In this episode of Leading with Health, I explore new approaches to helping people radicalized by extremist ideologies and why embracing our flaws is so important. These are the resources mentioned in the episode:

Highlights include:

1:35 – “Voter ID laws. It sounds race neutral and it sounds like it’s in support of strengthening democracy. But voter ID laws are based on the lie of voter fraud. We have to have people be themselves to make sure they’re not stealing the election. So you create the lie, then you create the obstacle of IDs.” – Source: White Rage Just Won’t Go Away

4:01 – “’These are people who have chosen hate and ideology as a drug of choice to numb the pain of underlying issues and grievances, and so we treat this the same way we treat addiction,’ said Myrieme Churchill, the executive director of Parents for Peace. A father co-founded the group after his radicalized son fatally shot a U.S. soldier.” – Source: After Capitol Riot, Desperate Families, Turn to Groups that ‘Deprogram’ Extremists

6:45 – “Extremist groups and ideologies convince people that they are unlovable and unwanted outside the so-called movement. Undermine this recruitment strategy by expressing love in ways a vulnerable family member is open to and can understand. Communicating love isn’t always easy when we are worried or scared. But your friend or family member doesn’t need you to be perfect. They want to be loved and understood as they find acceptance, value, and safety.” – Source: Life after Hate – What to Do When a Loved One Sides with White Supremacists

9:05 – JM: “I think we all maybe need to hear from time to time that you don’t have to be perfect to be worthy. You don’t have to have a flawless past in order to be worthy. And I think that’s something we forget, like if we are not perfect already, we’re not good enough.”

10:30 – JM: “If you get rid of everybody who doesn’t fall in lock step with your position, you don’t have any other information coming in and you’re in an echo chamber of your own thoughts. And if they get rid of you because you’re so extreme they can’t even talk to you, there is no healing between the two of you at all. There’s no bridge of understanding. There’s nothing. Everything just freezes in place. And when people freeze in place like that, things get uglier and more frightening. Things can lead to violence much more quickly than if we were trying to connect. So I just think that there’s this belief on both sides that you have to be perfect and right from the start, you have to have this complete belief. You can’t grow, you can’t change because that would imply you weren’t perfect already. You weren’t right. And the fact is, so what? So what if somebody had to learn something? It is such an erroneous belief that we need this immediate perfection, especially when it’s some perfection defined by somebody else, which with cancel culture is always what it is.”

Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash