Last night I instigated a conversation with my work friend about sexual consent. It was fascinating to hear everyone else’s viewpoint. Everyone has an opinion based on their specific life experience. The trick is to find the commonalities of our beliefs. When we do that, we find commonalities in each other. When we stubbornly refuse to see someone else’s perspective, we remain isolated. It’s through the commonalities that we connect. Connection is necessary for healthy and happy living.
Here’s an example: Joe is very convicted about his views and stubbornly refuses to see any others. He is convinced that if you don’t see it the way he does that you are mentally ill. In other words, you’re crazy if you don’t see it his way. As a result of his firm conviction and moral authority, he’s isolated.
Toni is also convicted about her beliefs, and she fights for them. She is angry that things are the way that they are and wants a better world for her daughter. Beneath her pleasant personality, there is a simmering cauldron of anger.
Joe and Toni are on opposite sides of their specific causes. Joe believes in his heart that Toni’s fight goes contrary to his own. He currently believes that the morality and social mores of today are sliding away to a palace where this is no social mores, no moral compass, no personal responsibility and no self-awareness of self-actualization.
I get it, and a part of me agrees with Joe, and a part of me agrees with Toni.
There is a wave of anger at the society that doesn’t exercise tolerance and respect for all. And that anger manifests itself in social justice warriors that elevate one side by standing on the neck of the other.
I have a radical idea: What if we all kept our eyes on our paper? What if we stayed in our lane? What if we looked at what needs to be changed within us as opposed to what needs to be changed in the world? What if we looked into our own hearts and minds to vet out the source of our anger and realized the fear behind it?
What if we:
Let go of the fear that our social mores are breaking down.
Let go of the fear that there will never be economic equality for women.
Let go of the fear that the current administration is sending our country down a path from which we will never recover.
Let go of fear. Period.
What would it look like if we could find love, tolerance, and respect for all people? If we want social change, we need to start with ourselves.
Just for Today
When I feel agitated or upset, I will pause and recognize that there is something within me that needs healing. I will listen to others humbly, searching for our similarities and commonalities. I will seek to understand as to be understood.
Lord, make me an instrument
of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred,
let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light; and Where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life.
St Francis of Assisi