Because I understand multiple points of view, it takes me a while to figure out how I feel about things. I’ve always seen this as a weakness because in debates I am not able to respond quickly. And I can’t just blurt out whatever comes to mind because I also come with this self-edit-function that won’t allow me to stand up for something unless I know it’s true to ME.
And I wanted to sit on this until I knew I was saying my truthiest truth.
This year has been ridiculous. And incredible. We are all standing in one of those rare moments where we are conscious of living history as it happens. The results of the November election and its aftermath shocked me into a numb, silent state. I suddenly saw perspectives I’d never seen before. Some very beautiful, some very ugly – all extreme. So much screaming. So much anger and fear mixed in with so much celebrating. It overloaded my system, caused the words to get stuck in my throat. I had no choice but to sit back and wait for my heart to sort itself out.
The electoral college votes today and it is unlikely that anything out of the ordinary will happen. (Although, We, The People, have said that exact phrase a lot this year so we’ll see.) Regardless of the final outcome here is MY truth.
At the core, I do not care about left or right. I do not believe in responding to hatred with hatred. I do not believe in name calling. I do not believe that whoever screams the loudest wins the argument. I do not believe that in order to work together we need to be the same.
I cannot control how other people feel, or think. I have not lived their lives and they have not lived mine. What I CAN do is talk calmly to people who think differently than I do and really listen to what they say. I can try to understand them instead of immediately dismissing ideas different than mine. I can ask why. Why do you feel that way? Why is that a better idea? And when they ask me why I can give calm answers.
I can control me. Me and the space around me is a place where everyone is welcomed and everyone is loved and a belief that our differences are what make us stronger together. I believe that you have to balance hate with love. There is a LOT of hate out there right now. And while soft, peace rally love is delightful, what I’m talking about is tough love.
Tough love means speaking up to people in my own life when they voice hatred and making every effort I can to have a constructive conversation with them that does not turn into an argument. Tough love means thinking before I speak. It means educating myself when something comes up in the news I don’t understand before I form an opinion about it. Tough love can be something small like going out of my way to be extra nice just in the hopes that more people will smile. It also means more challenging things like supporting causes and non-profits whose loving voices carry farther than my own. It means bringing as much beauty into the world as I can with my art. It means actually putting real effort into pushing more love and goodness into the world in any way I can think of instead of sitting passively at home and hoping everything turns out okay.
Tough love is real effort. It is my priority. Feel free to join me.