This will be my first and last personal statement about the United States Presidential election of 2016. I am not writing this to convince anyone of what is right or what is wrong. I am writing this for the sake of my own healing process and sharing it only to inspire healing in others.
People who know me well will tell you I am optimist. What they don't know is I go through a lot of negative thinking to get there. Sometimes this takes longer than I want, particularly when I am experiecing paralizing fear. When fear is present I try to focus on being open instead of letting the fear overwhelm me. I pray. I listen. I engage my mentors. I seek out new views that include those that I oppose. In the same way that others influence the ultimate choices I make, I know that my decisions affect and influence other people. Am I burdened by that responsibility? Not at all, because for me the idea of living in a bubble where I am cut off from the influence and concern of others also cuts off the life essential experiences of love, empathy and compassion.
I mailed my ballot on Oct 28th, 2016. Even though my decision was made, I was still listening. Between the news cycle and my Facebook feed, listening was unavoidable. It was so intense; strong opinions, resistance and unbelievable amounts of hate. As I tried to block it all out and go on about my days, my emotional and spiritual systems were traumatized. I went into shock. I was not sleeping. I was anxious and had migraines every other day. I hoped for the best and reminded myself that the election would be over soon and I could get back to business as normal.
I was so wrong. My system is still in shock, in addition to the original trauma I can't seem to suck the tears back and for the first time in my adult life, I no longer has a sense of security in my own country. I feel my life as a woman is now threatened every time I walk outside my home.
I did not vote for Trump - I have friends and family who did. Anything I can say about his experience, plans and behavior has already been said. I am not looking for more ways to talk about who is right and who is wrong. I am trying to figure out how we are supposed to move forward together and heal. And I mean TOGETHER. Is this something we can agree on? If we are going to continue to be the UNITED States we have to figure out how to do that together.
Our body as nation is on a surgery table. We are in the middle of open heart surgery. Our guts are exposed and there are cancers of hate that need to be treated. If we treat only ½ of the cancer, the other side still grows and the entire body dies.
We need to relate now in a way that at first will feel very uncomfortable. We need to stop talking to prove we are RIGHT. We need to be open to exploring, "What if I am WRONG?" Why? Because where there is open curiosity, there is empathy. Where there is empathy there is the kind of understanding that is required to come together and truly create the kind of CHANGE that everyone is asking for.
How do we start this kind of relating? Here are 9 steps for getting started.
Healing Steps of Relating After US Election 2016
1. Love yourself for having the courage to stand for something. Your thoughts and feelings matter.
2. Trust yourself to come to the right conclusions. You own your own thoughts and feelings, no one can take that away from you. You have the right to believe what you believe or change your mind.
3. Make a list of topics you would like to understand better.
4. Be open to take in new information on those topics from a difference perspective. Ask yourself; what if I was someone else, how would this affect me? Imagine the same information from the perspective of your daughter, son, a person of a different race, sex, career, political party and/or who lives in a different part of the country than you.
5. With new perspectives on new information, engage in a conversation with someone that is likely to have their own perspective on the information. Note: A REAL CONVERSATION, take it off F*@king FACEBOOK!!!! Use Facebook only to make the invite for the conversation by saying something like, "I really want to understand where you are coming from here, can we set a time to talk about this?"
- Thank the person for their time
- Commit to each other that the purpose of the conversation is not to change the other person's mind. The purpose is to share information and time for the sake of curiosity.
- Repeat back what you hear by stating, "So this is what I think you mean, Did I understand that correctly?"
- When it is your time to share, relate to what you heard by saying, "This is what came up for me, when you said...."
- Ask why often. "Why is this important to you?"
8. End the conversation by thanking the person for their time and thoughts.
9. Take time to process what you learned. Is a follow-up conversation required? What other loving action can you take based on the new information you have?
Seems simple enough? Let me illustrate how it will get challenging by sharing what topics I want to understand better because of this election:
1. I want to talk to someone that did not vote and understand what were his or her reasons for doing so.
2. I want to talk to someone who believes that because I am woman I am less qualified for a position even though I have the same if not more experience than my male counterpart.
3. I would like to talk to someone wh0 doesn't understand how I could have LBGTQ friends.
4. I would like to talk to someone who is uncomfortable knowing that one of my best friends is black and that my date for Christmas Eve for the last three years is black man who grew up in Africa.
5. I would like to talk to anyone who believes that the government should be the one that makes my birth control decisions.
6. I want to talk to anyone that views me as less of a person because I am unmarried or a not mother.
7. I would like to talk to someone that does not understand why I choose to live in California.
8. I would like to talk to someone after they watch the documentary 13th on Netflix or the series Good Girls Revolt on Amazon.
9. I would like to talk to someone that has a hard time understanding why I as an entrepreneur do not need or expect anything more from my government than what is stated I have the right to in our constitution.
10. Lastly, when I or any other woman that I know is sexually assaulted by a man that states "In the name of Trump," I would like to talk to a Trump voter who wouldn't feel even a tiny bit responsible for that.
Now do you understand why I said it is going to get uncomfortable? My topics are emotionally charged. Your list will be too. Let's talk it out people. Let's get off Facebook and have real conversations. Let's not pretend we can fix this with "let's get along" Band-Aids. We have real work to do. Cancer does not go away by adapting, protesting or pretending it is not there. Make your list and gather your people to discuss and don't exclude people who do not see things as you do. We have no chance for healing if we remain divided and in our own little bubbles. GOD BLESS AMERICA.
#healmynation #lovemyneighbor #teamUSA #relatewithme #lovewins