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I went on a blind date the other night, and within minutes of sitting down, the guy said, “It’s a deal breaker if you are a Trump supporter.”
I looked at him with a blank stare, and without saying a word, he went on to snarl: “Because, if you are, we won’t be able to raise our kids in the same household.”
My initial thought, and what I wanted to blurt out, was Relax. But, then I took a breath and figured, he’s in a lot of pain with all this anger. My next thought…Dude, slow down. We just met and you’re talking about kids?
At this point, I may have lost a few readers because of the mention of the word Trump, or the assumption that I may be pro-POTUS, but this article is not about politics.
I prefer not to discuss politics because it usually ends up in a heated exchange among people, and more often than not, it divides families, friends, and communities—who seem to act more out of emotions than facts. I also choose not to watch or listen to the media because, in my opinion, it’s a circus of he-said, she-said propaganda.
However, what I intend to do throughout this article is to shine light on the fact that we, as a collective, need to stop with all hatred, fighting, and dividing.
The ever-wise Maya Angelou said it best: “Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved one yet.”
The world seems so divided right now—because it is. People are fighting about all sorts of things, such as race, religion, politics, policy, territory, gender, sexual orientation, and so on.
People have opinions, and I get that. I also understand that not everyone is going to agree 100 percent of the time—which is why I love the phrase, let’s agree to disagree. I also understand that an idealized concept of a utopia of worldly love is a far off concept, which I doubt I will see in my lifetime. And, I also know that opposition causes a semblance of balance.
However, I would really like to see and feel some more harmony in our world.
Do I have a solution? No. But, I do have a few suggestions.
First, let’s break it down to simple terms and compare it to something we can all understand, which is nature.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Do animals discriminate against one another?
Do trees and flowers disrespect and victimize one another?
Do the stars fight over who gets what spot in our vast sky?
Do the waves discourage one another from rolling toward the shore?
I’d bet your answers were, no.
Now, ask yourself these questions:
Do people discriminate against one another?
Do people disrespect and victimize one another?
Do people fight with other people?
Do people discourage one another?
I bet your answers were, yes.
So the question arises: Why is it that nature lives in harmony, yet humans do not?
I can surmise that it has to do with the ego.
In psychoanalysis, the ego is defined as part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity. All humans have an ego, yet not everyone uses it healthily.
For example, if a child grows up in a healthy environment and develops a loving sense of self, they will likely have a healthy ego in adulthood. A healthy ego would allow them to be resilient adults who can develop meaningful relationships and be creative problem solvers. However, if there was trauma or neglect in a child’s life, they will likely be rigid adults who do not develop healthy relationships and who would rather fight.
The difference between a healthy ego and an unhealthy one is that a healthy ego has a solution for every problem, whereas an unhealthy ego finds a problem for every solution.
There is good news and bad news when it comes to the ego.
Hurt people hurt people. If someone has deep wounds that stem from childhood or some other occurrence in their life and they do not deal with their traumas—whether through therapy or other healing modalities—then that person is likely to take their pain out on others.
For example, let’s create a scenario (with made up names). Lifelong friends, Sara and Joy, go to lunch and the conversation turns to the topic of raising children. Sara and Joy have a difference of opinion, but whereas Joy is calm and even-toned throughout the conversation, Sara turns red in the face, starts sweating, and raises her voice every time she tries to make a point. Then the waiter walks by to clear their plates and Sara spits, “Do not touch my plate!”
It is evident that Sara has an unhealthy ego because she was triggered by the conversation, and she took her anger out on her longtime friend and the waiter. This is a softer example of someone displacing anger, but in more extreme cases, sometimes deep-rooted anger can lead to psychological or physical abuse. No matter the degree, it is apparent that latent anger can be displaced outward.
The good news is twofold.
For starters, with willingness and the right treatment, people can heal most, if not all, their wounds. I am not saying that it will be easy, because healing can be painful, and it takes honesty and bravery, but it can be done.
Secondly, by the simple act of reading this you are aware (or are becoming aware) of the collective pain-body that exists in our Westernized society, and with this awareness, we can collectively start to heal and lead with our hearts versus our egos.
Here are five tips that can help us live more harmoniously:
1. Pay attention to your actions. Instead of blaming, shaming, or projecting outward, take ownership of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. For when we pay attention, we bring awareness to the present moment, and it is with that awareness that we can begin to transcend our emotions and instead of reacting, we bear witness to what is.
2. Seek treatment. If you recognize that there may be pain and suffering in your life, then reach out for help. There are many treatments and healing modalities out there, such as talk therapy, community outreach groups, rehab, yoga, meditation, spirituality, and so on. There is beauty in healing because once we begin to heal ourselves, we begin to heal the world.
3. Be kind(er) to one another. Smile at a stranger the next time you run an errand. Hold the door open for someone. Return the grocery cart, so it is readily available for the next person; plus with the law of karma, it will reduce your risk of getting a ding the next time one is left rogue. These small acts of kindness will likely make you feel good, and you just may make an impression and influence someone else to do the same.
4. Choose gratitude. No matter who you are or what you have been through in your life, I believe that there is always something to be grateful for. Perhaps it’s the air that you breathe, or the sun that rises and sets, or gratitude for a parent, pet, sibling, child, or spouse. Whatever it is, express it. Even in adverse situations, try and look to them as lessons and blessings. The moral of the story is that the more we choose gratitude, the more good things come our way—and with that goodness, it makes us happier individuals, which helps the collective vibrate higher.
5. Stop, drop, and breathe. The next time someone does or says something that you disagree with, I advise you to notice the thought and feeling, take a breath, and then respond. This pause often softens a reaction, which in turn softens the exchange of opinions.
In the case of my date whom I never saw again, I chalked it up to a positive experience. His anger and fear had nothing to do with me, yet it had everything to do with him. I do hope he gets the help he needs.
The takeaway here, I hope, is that we can live in harmony if we make conscious choices to do so. We can either choose to feed into negativity swirling around us and fight our way through this one precious life, or we can choose to heal our wounds and rise above the collective negativity with love and intention for a better world.