Who do we want to be as a people?
I know that competition is good and that it makes us better, but I’ve always had a hard time with the whole winners and losers thing. It drives my husband nuts that I feel sorry for the underdogs when his football team is crushing it. Whenever I would win out over someone else, whether it was high school speech team, getting a solo in choir, or winning a piece of business, I would always feel badly for the person who didn’t get it. They worked hard too. They had their heart set on the prize too. It always bothered me to be so happy at the expense of someone else.
It’s not that I think everyone should get a trophy, not at all. I just can’t help but step into their shoes and feel their disappointment. Like with all of us, my strength is also my Achilles heel.
So I am keenly aware that while 75 million people in the United States are joyous and relieved that there are also 71 million people who are also angry and hurt and in pain.
71 million. That’s a lot of pain.
I don’t know how the United States heals its division and hurt. But what I do know is that we cannot ignore what’s real for all human beings that share this country, or there will never be a “united” states. We need to find a way to extinguish the pain.
To seek to understand what got us here in the first place.
I, like most of my fellow Americans, am filled with emotion. But I am reminding myself to take a step back and think before I speak. To tread gently in a world that is so tender and raw. To remember that however, I may feel, there are others who feel just as deeply about their beliefs and “reasons why.”
That if I don’t want to perpetuate the problem, then I need to be a part of the solution.
How can we, brave friends, center ourselves enough to be the calm in the storm? How can we extend a hand and look for shared humanity? How can we move from reaction to choice?
To choose to create a better, less divisive world? To allow us all to heal.
For, from my vantage point, we are all hurting. Hurt people hurt people. If we can remember that, perhaps we can find our way to our better selves. Together.
©A Thoughtful Company, LLC
Thank you for this reminder. I read a quote on another BizCatalyst post this weekend that stated, ” “We always knew people who were not like-minded, but getting along with them was normal life, part of the deal.”
I think we need to practice this again. I’ve refrained from posting political views on any social media accounts. Those are my beliefs. I’m entitled to them. But I don’t need to share them.
We can start being united again by finding our likeness.
Kimberly — A lot of that “pain” manifests itself as anger, and that’s what really frightens me. Seeing armed citizens with their AR-15s on the steps of a state capital frightens me.
We have always been a divided nation, but I think our divisions today are exacerbated by the volume of highly crafted media – radio, print, TV – to which we can turn. As a friend of mine who sees politics and society very different than I do remarked, “We all live in our bubbles.”
At the risk of sounding over simplistic,
• I think we need to do a better job educating our youth about opinions vs fact; reality vs alternate worlds. I say that as a former high school history and government teacher. No one is born politicized. We’re taught how to be politicized, and we can also be taught to be more discriminating in what we read, view and listen to.
• We also need to have an honest discussion in this country about the role of government. “Big” vs “small” are achingly archaic terms relative to the complexity of living in a nation of 330M people and a constantly-evolving world.
• And finally, we need to step back and look at what it is we value as a nation. So much of governing today seems to boil down to power and money.
Thanks for a thought-provoking piece.
Thank you so much for this, Jeff. As usual, this is such a thoughtful response to this conversation and I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve written. The thing is, most of these solutions will need to unfold over time and we have an immediate crisis at hand. We can’t afford to pour fuel on the flames, we have to do everything in our power to calm and disarm… THEN put your powerful strategies in action. None of us can show up powerfully and constructively if we’re acting out of fear. That is true on both sides.