I’ve always carried a belief that the biggest problem in the world is intolerance of difference. It appears to be a causal factor in war, racism, sexism, child abuse, domestic violence, marital disputes, dysfunctional families, broken marriages, religious arguments, political debates, sexuality choices, and the beat goes on.
If you awaken today and speak of your views or a controversial topic…you get it. You know what I mean. In fact, given the political environment of late (or hate) you may be cautious about sharing which news station you follow at this very moment. Fox? CNN? MSNBC? Do you dare say? Hide the remote! And not only does this have to do with television but the bedroom as well! Some couples, as I write, are sleeping in different bedrooms until the elections are over. If you’re online dating, don’t mention your political affiliation or you could face immediate judgment or rejection. I just saw a neighborhood yard this week that had a rope divider down the middle of the grass. On one side was a political sign for Obama and the other for Romney. But it’s not just the political debate. One could write pages on differences in social issues and beliefs in this country as well as in our own families and relationships.
What is the huge fear with “difference?” Quoting Bertrand Russell, “Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.” I can only imagine what a beautiful world this would be if intolerance of difference was addressed with vigor. To express empathy and understanding for how others think and feel and not resort to violence, revenge, or out of control behavior, is a great plan for parenting! As the respected late family therapist, Virginia Satir, reminds, “Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible — the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.”
So, what if we defined ourselves by what we love and not by what we hate? Would that change the eerie negativity hanging in the airwaves? It’s interesting when you ask people what they hate. Quick verbal lists come spewing your way. Often, however, when asking folks what they love, what turns them on, what trips their trigger, what makes them sparkle, what is their passion… there’s a pause. Is this because less energy goes into the focus of what we love? Mother Teresa said, “If you judge people you have no time to love them.”
I want to support child advocacy. That’s what I love. Empathic parenting, treating children with respect and honor, embracing the child within us with love and nurturing…these are the goals for stopping the legacy of distorted love. What if we could turn more people into child advocates?
When we are focused on what we love rather than what we hate…there is a shift in energy channels. It doesn’t mean that we condone criminal behavior, child abuse, or violent acts, but if we look at it from the perspective of how we can help, love more, and give healing and nurturing energy to ourselves and others…maybe that key will turn the mysterious lock. If the focus remains on intolerance of difference and the fear that accompanies it, the word “danger” comes to mind. Russell Simmons said, “The world will become what we envision it to be. And if we are fearful, and we think we should tense up and prepare for an ongoing battle, then that’s what we’ll have.” Let’s become a part of a bigger theatre with a positive curtain call where we applaud love, kindness and tolerance. Let this performance be bigger than we are and teach it to our children. Keep it simple…what do you love?
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