Daily we are greeted with messages of division. Some days they seem to be downright violent in their nature. It is messages of extremes delivered by one side or another. It gives us three very false impressions. The first is that you have to choose “One side or the other” You can’t be a little of this, or a little of that. With just a few seconds of logical thought, we can realize this is not true. In today’s world, which thanks to technology is growing more mixed and smaller than ever, people are a mix of a whole bunch of different things.
That brings us to the second false claim these stories and groups are putting out there. That most people belong to one of these “2 sides”. It is if people are made to feel guilty for having feelings that can understand and see and issue from both points of view. Here is a news flash for some of you – you can agree with parts of one side of and issue and parts of another side. In fact, if you do, that is a sign of open-mindedness and critical thinking. Seldom, if ever, is an issue black and white. Despite what you hear, you do not have to be on one side of an issue or another. You can choose the space in between and not only understand, but give respect to both sides.
That brings us to the last bit of misinformation those in certain circles would like us to believe – that if you disagree with someone you have to hate them or at the very least view them as if they were the enemy. This is not only obviously untrue, but ask yourself what we stand to gain by thinking this way. By making enemies of those who could have been friends with just a little bit of compassion and understanding. Ask yourself another important question, who stands to benefit by us being divided and working against each other? It brings more stress into our lives and reduces the amount of people we can share with. So, who does benefit from us being divided?
From now on I challenge you to stop being a sheep and believing that we must remain divided. We are far more powerful when we work together. How can we accomplish this? I will give you a few examples and I would love to hear more from you. In something as simple as sports we can try this. If you meet up with friends who cheer for a different team than you do (yes this is actually allowed in life) If your team wins, be gracious enough to say “Your team played a good game.” Maybe even mention a few things that they did well and wish them better luck next time. This works a lot better than mocking them and gloating about how good your team is. If your team loses, remember it is just a game. Congratulate them on their teams victory. In that contest, they were obviously the better team. Keep in mind this is just a game. It should be a chance to gather together and not say mean or hurtful things. Once again, nobody wins in that scenario.
Politics is an area that people are really getting after each other lately. To me, this is one of the most foolish. Do you know who benefits when we label each other as “Crazy” or “Evil” because our politics differ? Those politicians that seek to push their agendas by dividing us. The problem is not that neighbor Bill voted for someone different than you and has a different view of the world. The problem is that instead of seeking a middle ground and a solution that will benefit all people, we are told we have to be divided and only one side can win. When we do this we lose. We lose friends, we lose a good amount of peace and joy in our lives. We may even have families torn apart. As a parent or teacher we would never tell children that they should call the other kids they disagree with nasty names, but that is exactly what grown adults in the political arena are doing. What do we teach children? That is ok to be different and that we all have to find ways to play nice together, This is a message that we should deliver to those in power.
Lastly, there is religion and faith. This is so important in the lives of many. Our faith can be what gets us through the toughest times. Yet, just like politicians, certain religious leaders would prefer we view those who differ in their form of worship as “The enemy” or “Sinners”. Turning people we love, or those that we see do a lot of compassionate and loving things for the world as ‘the bad guys’. In mind mind, this is nothing short of stupid. When I hear of someone who enjoys a ritual that is different than what I may do, this is what I say. “Oh, that’s cool.” It doesn’t mean my beliefs are wrong or that theirs are better or worse than mine. It is just that they have found a different way to deepen their faith which will ultimately make them a better person.
Don’t be a sheep and follow what certain members of the media and those in power are telling you. We do not have to be divided. Those who are different than us can still be right and so can we. Be a lion. Show what love and compassion can do. Show what working together we can make the world a far better place than working against each other. Realize that in your own life, love and compassion for those who differ than you can bring you more peace and less stress. Awaken the lion within you.