I was visiting with a friend recently who was ranting about Donald Trump being a bully and a misogynist. Not surprising, and nothing for me to defend.
But he was angry.
He had a raw disgust and utter contempt toward the man and “everything” he represents and stands for.
Another friend said he “unfriended” several American friends on Facebook who were accepting of Trump’s exclusionary principles. Furthermore, they seemed okay with my friend’s assertion that Trump could be the next Hitler; they were apparently comforted by Trump’s supposed neo-fascist ideology.
My feeling is that the only way to change Donald Trump or someone aligned with his politics and ideology, or even a neighbor we deem as misguided or perhaps dangerous, is to open our hearts to them.
But this is where things get tricky.
To genuinely open our hearts to those we hate, feel contempt for, or even fear (if, indeed, changing the world and the course we are on as a species is our agenda), we need to acknowledge our own shadows and admit that there is a “Donald Trump” deep within each of us.
The way I see it is that the potential for a megalomaniacal personality disorder lies within each of us when we are brought up as children. Or, if that isn’t true, then at least that potential is within someone close to us, someone we care about. This archetype is connected to a larger truth about being human than we can see from down here with our limited perspective.
For me personally, I feel strongly that although I may be different from Donald Trump, I am, paradoxically, also the same. In fact, we are not separate.
We need to love the Donald Trump within in order to truly love the Donald Trump without.
I will never convince my impassioned, leftwing, feminist, animal-loving, male friends that they have a Donald Trump within that needs their acknowledgement, love and forgiveness. In fact, I can’t really say for sure that they do. But I know that I do. For me, learning to love the Trump within has allowed me to find a place in my heart for the actual man, the Trumpster or “Daddy” as Milo Yiannopoulos affectionately calls him.
I just love him. Warts and all. And my hope is that somehow he feels this love.
My guess is that he would likely resist it at first, but the love and acceptance (particularly en masse) would begin to warm his big old, frozen to the core, heart. And as his heart thawed, his child-within would likely shudder and resist, but possibly, just possibly, begin to heal.
Donald might find himself weepy at unexpected moments. He may find himself needing a walk in the woods (at Martha’s Vineyard?) on a dreary Sunday evening .And somewhere on that dark path, fall to his knees and ask for the forgiveness that has already been granted by the open hearts around him. Perhaps on that dark shadowy path he would begin to truly change.
However, I know for myself, when I feel contempt or anger toward someone the question that always lingers is: who is it that really needs to change? Is it me or my ex-wife? Is it me or the neighbor that called the municipality behind my back? Moreover, is it Donald Trump and his followers who are in need of changing and healing? At the end of the day, I always finally arrive at the same conclusion: my anger, frustration or sadness isn’t about my neighbor or my ex-wife, it’s about me. I need to look at my own shadow, to forgive myself for the same traits that irritate me about others. And I need to bring love to my anger, fear and grief. Because, indeed, what I know for sure is that there is a fervent emotion within that is demanding my attention.
Looking at, and getting to know, our shadow is a difficult task. Indeed, it is one of the most challenging aspects of being human. But it is required to evolve as a person and species. Growth as a child is intuitive. Growth as an adult takes work and sacrifice. At times what needs to be sacrificed is who we think we are, or ought to be. This can be painful and frightening because, in doing so, we need to come to terms with our mortality and surrender to uncertainty. The ultimate unknown.
However, when we finally shed light on what is hidden in the shadows, and learn to accept it, we might find ourselves getting weepy at unexpected moments. We may decide to take a walk in the woods on a dreary Sunday night, and on that dark path ask for the forgiveness that has already been granted by the open hearts around us. On that shadowy path perhaps we will begin to truly change. And then, and only then, will the world around us finally begin to change as well. At least that’s been my experience.
If you’re frightened, angered or saddened by Mr. Trump’s victory, light a candle and pray for him. Illuminate what is really going on for you. And instead of a leader who is predicted to bring harm, he may become a conduit to a brighter, healthier, more conscious future.
Author: Mark Lewis
Editor: Travis May