I was listening to a talk recently by Jackie Salit, a very astute independent political pundit. She said the two major parties have given us the voice of fear (Trump) or the voice of status-quo (Clinton). Then she said that neither fear nor status quo will help us develop as a country. This struck me as so important. Whether or not you agree with her political analysis, being led by fear or keeping things the same are definitely not helpful for growing personally or in relationships. These ways of being can keep us stuck, inhibit growth, or even take us backwards in terms of our development.
Between election fervor and the violence in our nation and world, these are intense and scary times. It's understandable that fear or the need to keep things ‘stable’ or the same would overtake us. My clients have been talking a lot about how they are confused, angry, feeling helpless, scared, upset. I am too. But if we think about it, it is during these times that we need change. Have you ever experienced relief from one of these intense emotions by simply smiling at a co-worker when you usually don’t smile, or taking a new route to work, or trying something new in the kitchen or at the gym? The same is true in relationships. When things get rocky or when you feel like you're not being heard or when anything difficult is going on, we start to be led by fear, which often comes out as anger, or want to keep things the same. For example, avoiding the hard conversation and instead doing the same routine together. We all can tell a story of how that strategy ends up.
So for our country, for ourselves and for our relationships, let’s try something: In a situation where you are afraid to do something that could be challenging yet growthful, do it anyway. In a relationship that is stuck, say something different. And to the two major parties: do something different by listening to the American people who are crying, and also crying for change.
Let’s all be brave and shake it up, together. Let me know how it goes.