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Dana Perino Shares Her Journey to Peace, Reveals One of Her High-Profile Role Models
When Dana Perino left the White House in 2009 after serving as former President George W. Bush’s press secretary for

When Dana Perino left the White House in 2009 after serving as former President George W. Bush’s press secretary for two years, she didn’t have a Twitter account. But at the height of last year’s contentious presidential brawl, she felt the weight of what it means to be consumed by social media.

That shows just how fast the world has changed — and how consequential those changes have been.

“God intended us to be joyful people,” Perino said during a recent interview with Faithwire. “Of course we’re going to go through a lot of hard times, but that feeling of serenity that I crave is, I think, one of God’s greatest gifts.”

In her quest to find peace — and keep it, practically speaking — Perino, who serves as co-anchor of “America’s Newsroom” on Fox News, said she had to learn how to rein in the authority social media had over her life.

Left unchecked, she said, the divisiveness of Twitter “can be horrible” and can leave you wanting to “crawl under your desk and be in the fetal position and not want to talk anymore.”

As it turns out, Perino had been targeted by “bots” — autonomous accounts that post tweets via a programming software, often spamming prominent figures through their mentions and direct messages — and it was impacting her personally and professionally.

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“Being so preoccupied with what’s happening on social media, it’s not good for a marriage,” she admitted. “It’s not good for my relationships with my family. In fact, my husband kept asking, ‘Is there something I can do?’ [I told him], ‘No, there’s nothing you can do.’ But guess who can do something about it? I can do something about it.”

Perino has since changed her Twitter settings so she only sees replies to her tweets from people she already follows on the platform, a shift she said cut out some 90% of the hateful attacks against her.

The divisive tweets are undoubtedly still out there. The difference is she’s no longer investing her time and energy into reading them.

That’s a difficult lesson to learn — and an even harder one to put into practice — in a world in which we are constantly called to answer for everything immediately.

Social media places on each of us an artificial pressure to form opinions in real-time to anything that happens the moment it happens. Furthermore, in the midst of an escalating cancel culture, there seems to be some invisible force demanding we reduce people to nothing more than the sum total of their mistakes, jumping in with the crowd to condemn those around us in an effort to raise ourselves up.

Perino, of course, said she would “never” participate in anything like that and instead encouraged people to find ways to see the humanity in those around them, regardless of the differences that might otherwise divide them. Because helping other people, she said, “is what’s required of us.”

She went on to reveal one habit she’s implemented into her own life over the past couple of years — a practice she writes about in her forthcoming book, “Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Woman),” out March 9.

In New York, Perino explained, conversations with strangers are few and far between. But she’s made it her goal to break through the silence.

“You don’t say ‘hi’ to everybody, but I started wishing every single person that I saw well in some way,” she said. “For example, if I saw a mom with her kid on the subway, I would just say, ‘I pray that they get home safely.’ Or, ‘I pray that he has a good day at work.’ Or, ‘I pray that he has an opportunity today to really show his boss how great he is.’”

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By doing that, Perino said, she realized it’s “such a better way to spend my time and spend my thoughts, rather than rehashing any sort of negativity in my own life.”

The Fox News host also discussed the importance of finding role models and seeking out mentors, something she said we too often overthink when many of the people who influenced her never even realized how big a role they played in her life.

Back in her days as White House press secretary, Perino said one of her greatest role models and mentors was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Perino praised Rice for “the dignity and grace and smarts that she brought to everything.”

“I’ll never forget this,” the former spokesperson reminisced. “The Israelis were mad at her for something, and they thought that she was not representing President Bush’s position. And so, they were coming to the Oval Office, and their intent was to see if that was true, and they were probably gonna complain about Condi. Well, she got to be there as well, because she’s the secretary of state.”

“So in the pre-meeting, before the Israelis came in, she explained to the president what was going on, and I just got to be there as press secretary — I was listening in,” she continued. “Well, the Israelis come in and everybody sits down and they start to talk. And basically, they were trying diplomatically to say that Condi did not have his best interest in mind, and that she had gone rogue. And I’ll never forget what the president said: ‘Let me stop you right there. You can take it to the bank that whatever she says is directly from me. And you can see yourselves out.’”

Perino said she “loved” that moment during her tenure at the White House, explaining how much it means to have the support of those around you, which was, in Rice’s case, the president of the United States.

That kind of support, she explained, stems from trust and integrity, which she described as “your most important asset” and one you “have to protect.”

But many — if not most — of the successes of this life would be for naught if it wasn’t for joy, a gift that best grows out of serenity.

“When I say, ‘Everything will be OK,’ it’s because I just faithfully and truly believe it,” Perino said. “It will. It will be OK.”

To pre-order Perino’s new book, “Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Woman),” click here.

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