This week’s U.S. election polarized our nation. It exposed a big divide in mentality — in hopes and dreams and expectations. For some, the results triggered happiness. For others, dread and fear.
I’m not going to talk politics in this blog. I never will. I will, however, talk about what we can learn from a dynamic, oppositional, and sometimes antagonistic campaign that drew attention to two very critical elements of being human: our desire to be right, and the feelings of helplessness that can arise when you realize there is only so much you control.
It’s easy to forget that the meaning we give to our experiences determines the quality of our life. Good or bad, satisfying or troubling, positive or negative, our view of what happens to us colors how we will feel about it — and the way we will live our life. We can grouse and grumble and argue that what happened was the worst thing ever to happen. We can puff up chests and counter-argue that the country was overdue for change. We can also encourage positivity and fulfillment and even trust in a higher good, something bigger than all of us.
This isn’t always an easy thing to do, especially when you are feeling dismissed or that you didn’t get your way. That the other person, or event, or situation is wrong. It’s also easy to forget when you’re feeling high on the hog, when you feel as if you’ve “won” or “beaten the opposition”. However, there are two sides to every coin, as they say, and a bad flip or good flip is all about perception. This doesn’t just apply to elections. It applies to everything we face.
You can sit there and think neener-neener, you’re such a sore loser. Or you can sit there and complain. Neither attitude gets us anywhere. Neither makes you, as a person, feel good. But more importantly, neither makes you right.
You can take the attitude of asking, “Why are the Clinton supporters complaining so much?” Or, you can try to see that we all have opinions and wants and needs, and that they are equally important even if they don’t align with yours.
You can take the attitude of asking, “How could those people have voted for Trump? This is terrible!” Or, you can try to open your heart to an experience you may not be prepared for or want, but that you can learn from anyway. Something you can take down to a personal level, to make life better individually.
The only way to do this is to truly explore the messages and inner chatter we tell ourselves. Our views are just that: our views. What’s inside our heads isn’t in the heads of others. It can’t be. No one else occupies your head and heart and soul except you. But when you take a step back and accept that we can only control our reactions and responses and decisions, and not those of others, you’ll find yourself in a much more empowering place. You’ll also discover compassion you didn’t know existed. What happens in life isn’t about being right or wrong. It’s about finding commonalities even in the midst of our biggest differences and trials and tribulations. It’s about finding compassion, and always trying to do the right thing.
It’s the only way to a more peaceful existence. Together.
On a side note, I always encourage comments on this blog. However, I reserve the right to delete any confrontational posts that don’t promote peace, compassion, or mindfulness. You have been warned. 🙂
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