I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of the world lately, and how we seem to be driven everywhere (by the media, social media platforms, leaders, the government, and others) to choose polarized “camps.” Pick any topic these days—like politics, race, gender, sexuality, COVID vaccinations, and more—and you’re likely to hear/see/read/watch/believe/dispute very passionate perspectives. The sentiment I observe over and over is: “you’re either with us or against us.” But here’s the thing:
Polarization creates separation.
What we need more than anything right now is connection.
How do those two words feel in your body? Separation and connection? To me, separation feels dark and heavy. Connection feels light and airy.
So how do we create connection? Here are a few of my thoughts:
- Ask yourself the question, “For what purpose?” For example, “For what purpose is this anger (mine or yours)? For what purpose is hostility? For what purpose is disrespect, or even outright hatred?” It’s an interesting question, and when asked (inwardly), it gives room for pause, thought, and consideration to your next personal choice.
- Set yourself this challenge: to show love and respect toward someone you don’t agree with. How can you honor yourself and your beliefs WHILE being loving, respectful, kind, and compassionate? Ask your brain; it will come up with the right solution for you.
- Prepare your own mini-monologue to pull out when needed. Here’s what I plan to say the next time someone asks me about something we don’t agree on: I’m happy to discuss this topic in the context of mutual respect, where we can hear each other and create connection, not separation. If that sounds good to you, awesome! If not, I still love/respect you, and prefer that we shift to another topic.” What can you say that would let you respect yourself and the “other?” Pause now and consider it.
Last, I encourage you to out into the world and be a beacon of light and connection. We need more way finders “out there” right now!