“Empathy, not cowardly bullying, is powerful. Vulnerability, not secretive corruption, is invincible. Democratic ideals, not authoritarian aggression, is our future…if we make it so. Let’s come together.” ~ @waylonlewis 🐘🇺🇸🙏🗽 Get our best: elephantjournal.com/best Inage quote: by the eloquent @houstonkraft
I have spent the past several weeks sorting through a seemingly endless set of emotions, ranging from disbelief, fear, and horror, all the way to peace, inspiration, and love.
What I’ve noticed in the aftermath of the election is that a lot of different people are responding in a lot of different ways.
And many of them feel we should be responding the same way they are.
This, friends, is dangerous.
We cannot push someone to be something they are not. In fact, most of the time when people are pushed, they either shut down or resist.
Think about it this way:
Person #1 reads countless Facebook posts about how we must fight the demagogue, rally against misogyny, rage against the (new) machine. This is not in their nature. They shut down, feeling shame for not picking up the battle cry. They do nothing.
Person #2 hears the peaceful call for love and light. This is not in their nature, at least not right now. They begin to take up arms against their own team, because they feel this “peaceful” approach is passive and ineffective—a sign of apathy or worse.
In each scenario, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. We are taking down our own forces. We are weakening ourselves and our cause.
Because there is no singular “right way” to respond.
We are all different—even those of us on the same side of this political debacle. I have seen my friends make various impassioned pleas.
Some argue that we must fight.
Others, myself included, claim that we must love.
The list is endless. And the truth is this:
We must each move forward in the way that is most empowering for us.
And as we move forward together, we must be allowed—nay, encouraged—to do it in our own way.
We must each be encouraged to tap into our own unique gifts, as we attempt not just to make sense of what has happened, but to take deliberate steps in creating a solution. For some, that means marching in the streets. For others, that means meditating. For others still, that means volunteering for Planned Parenthood or a local LGBTQ organization.
What we must do is take action. What we can’t do is pressure each other to take action that is not aligned with our own needs.
That would put us working against each other, and we simply cannot afford to do that right now.
Some people are angry: they’re fierce and fired up. This is beautiful! Their charge is to take action that feels aligned with their call to fight.
Some people are scared: they worry what will happen to them or their loved ones. This is beautiful! Their charge is to take action that feels aligned with protecting those who might be in danger.
Some people are feeling called to love more: they feel that this is the way to heal the open wounds. This is beautiful! Their charge is to take action that feels aligned with their desire to share love.
Some people are just plain stunned: they will remain “stuck” if not offered an opportunity that feels totally do-able to them. This too is beautiful! Their charge is to feel around inside of themselves until they find an activity that feels right, and then do that. It might be baking cupcakes and delivering them to a soup kitchen. It might be volunteering to tutor high school kids. It might be helping out at the library book sale.
The only thing we can ask of each other are these three things:
1. Do something
2. Ensure that your something feels good, so that you are bringing good feelings into the world.
3. Ensure that your something is of benefit to at least one person other than you.
We are each coming into this situation as completely different beings, with different perspectives, life experiences, strengths and gifts. What works for one will not work for all.
Our best, most empowered approach is one in which we encourage each others’ gifts into action.
Repeatedly. In a committed way. Over the long-haul.
We must genuinely support that which the other is doing.
We must raise each other up for stepping into action.
We must recognize that we’re all in this together, and that our separate gifts are working toward the same cause.
We must come to see that we are all in the same orchestra, playing our own instruments.
Because above all else, this is an opportunity for every single one of us to tap into an even better part of ourselves.
And to encourage everyone around us to do the same.
This is how we unify.
Author: Julianna Ricci
Editor: Nicole Cameron