These last few weeks, have been difficult for many, including myself. It is disheartening to see the hate. It is difficult to see the ignorance. It is hard to see the blame, lies, and attacks. It is challenging to see so many people act so poorly. Often when I work with a new client, I have the same frustration. From the outside I can see how they are making their lives more difficult than necessary. Their beliefs, words and actions all conspire to shoot themselves in the foot.
Since I was young, I have been an idealist. I believed that I could be better, we could do better, that the world could be improved. I saw our potential as it could be and was frustrated that we made our relationships, our society more difficult than it needed to be. My personal journey of self-improvement that led to helping others, is based on my belief that we can all be better, do better. I see this improvement with my clients all the time. When someone is willing to look at themselves, to take personal responsibility, and to choose better, their lives get better. I still hold hope that this will also happen on a larger scale.
Through these recent challenges, I have been struggling with what I should do for myself, my friends, and the world as a whole. The best as I can come up with to solve all three is Love. Not that Hallmark romantic movie love, but the compassionate, giving, accepting, forgiving, resilient love. Two years ago, I shared how the world needs to focus on love and I guess I need to say it again.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Anger begets anger. Violence begets violence. And love begets love. A sheriff in Michigan showed this when he treated protesters with respect during one of the marches; his respect was returned and embraced. How we approach conflicts dictates the results. I thought a recent post by Notes from the Universe expressed clearly the results based on how we approach conflicts:
Primitive societies live by the Rule of Might, and the strong prevail.
Advanced societies live by the Rule of Law, and the privileged prevail.
Enlightened societies live by the Rule of Love, and everyone is lifted higher.
We can see all these rules in action today. And I think it is pretty clear which one benefits the world as a whole. What I find helps the most during difficult times is to rise above. To focus on coming together, not proving I am right. To focus on understanding others, not promoting my ideas. To focus on compassion, not hate. To embody and share love. Replace fear with love. Replace worry with love. Replace hate with love. Be the person you want to meet. Treat others how you want to be treated. Learn to understand and accept “the other.”
If you think you can’t make a difference in the world, you can. You don’t have to create a non-profit or attend a march. You can make a difference each and every day by how you treat everyone you meet, by controlling the negativity you consume and share, and by being the best person you can possibly be. I still believe in better. Do you?