This post is about self-compassion and the political process in the US.
Through its established processes, the US has elected a new president. I will admit having issue with both major candidates. But I take the biggest issue with my fellow citizens. In 2016, in the United States, with so much access and options available there was only 55% voter turnout. Now I understand that many were disappointed and disenfranchised by the state of politics in this country. I also don’t know what these people’s internal story was. I’m sure to them it was very valid and I will not discount that validity. And thought that statistic is disappointing, more like embarrassing, I’m also not going to spend too much time exploring it. In true coaching fashion, I am seeking a way forward.
This election has caused fear and hate to boldly show itself in our faces. I say ‘our,’ because what people see in me may not be what I see in myself. And while I have done my best to be uplifting through this electoral season, I can only hope that was the message that came across. Most important, I believe I did my best and I am happy with that. I also say ‘our’ because the solution we seek cannot come with separatism. Success will be in finding it together.
But what if you do feel angry or fearful? What if there is tension between you and a family member or friend or neighbor because of difference in political opinion? How can we all move forward and seek solutions to our common problems as Citizens? I’d love for you to share your feedback in the comments. In the interim, here is my suggestion for a starting point – practice self-compassion.
We view the world through the lens of our own experience. It really is the only reference we have as to how things should be, could be, is. You see, folks who are hard and exacting to ourselves are typically hard and exhausting to others. Those who are loving and compassionate to themselves are usually loving and compassionate to others. This was documented in the work of social researchee Brene Brown.
Viewing the world through our experience lens is neither right nor wrong. It’s just what it is. Looking at something in the light of what it is and not expressing any judgment requires compassion. Then, from the space of non-judgement, we can use what is, shine the best light on it, and find a way forward.
And since ourselves are the only things within our control, it behooves us to start there.
So, how do you feel about you? If you’re not sure I suggest thinking about how you feel about that person you have a difference of political opinion with. Can you bring yourself to be compassionate toward them? Note: I did not say “agree with” but what about not feeling anything distasteful toward them.
No one likes feeling judged by someone who has not walked our life path (and no one has). We have not walked in our neighbors’ shoes either, so we don’t know what brought them to their opinion. They are doing the best they can with their experience. And so are you. Be kind to yourself for that, and be kind to your neighbor. And then together we can move forward as a country; because we are all Americans.
Someone may be looking for a way to move forward. Please share this post.