Now is the time for you and I to be open-hearted.
The U.S. election happened. Maybe you were angry before. Maybe you are angry now.
In the wake of the election, I’ve noticed no shortage of finger pointing, hand wringing and “you people” vitriol.
Now is the moment to be authentic and brave and open-hearted – which means being vulnerable, no matter which side of the political divide you may be on. Open your heart to experience not just your own feelings, but those of others. (Psst… This works for other nations, too).
Here is what I believe you and I can do.
Name your values. Talk about your values. Start with your family, whoever it is you call “family.” Can your children, your siblings, your partner name the values you hold and those they hold and which you together? I would encourage you to actually name them, write them down. It’s a good exercise, but takes getting vulnerable. And if you are an adult, well, what values did your family of origin hold dear and are they still true for you? Then you can begin a conversation about how to live them.
Put down the (social media) megaphone and become vulnerable, be open-hearted and start a conversation. Much of what I’m seeing is “them-and-us” talk. Instead, open a conversation. A conversation actually starts with a readiness to listen and a question, “Tell me how you feel.” And then LISTEN. After listening to her, say, “What else?” and listen some more. Don’t rush in to counter with your point of view, complain about her logic, or enumerate your methods of solving her fears or anger or tears.
Listen. Take it in. If you can carry a cupful of pain away from that conversation with her, you’ve made the world a better place. You’ve created a space for understanding. It’s easy to arrive at a fight and throw a punch in anger. It takes bravery to show up at a fight, keep your hands at your sides and say, “Tell me why you hurt.” (Works for people “on your side” too.)
Make a donation – and let that leverage your desire to act. There are so many nonprofits working on the issues that connect to your values. Take those values you named, search for “nonprofits that do work in _____” and make a gift. These nonprofits have impact and scale. And they needs committed partners like you Make a commitment to a monthly donation of $15, $35 or $60 dollars – flex your giving muscle. Or choose more than one nonprofit. And keep your commitment going for at least a year.
Yes, volunteer. Yes, act. But strengthen those who are at the front lines already.
Make you biggest, bravest impact now by being open-hearted. It starts with you, with you heart-led intention. Every person is hurting – not because of the election. They are like you in many ways you’ve not yet seen. Behind that face – of your neighbor or the woman living in that other state – is a person who has lost a dear one, who is suffering from depression, who needs any love, who is homeless or jobless or hopeless. Recognize how we intersect, that we are human. Start with one heart meeting another.
Love. Intercede. Shout. Whisper. Be still. But in all this, be open-hearted.