It’s November, 7, 2016—the eve of the presidential election. There seems to be great tension in the air...tension everywhere. People seem angry, confused, uncertain, divided.
Whether you are a leader on the world stage, leader of this country, leader in your community, organization or family, or simply a leader of your own life—please, for the love of all that makes life not only bearable, but worth living...listen. Listen for what lies beneath the words.
I’ve been reflecting on all the vitriol that’s “out there” and in our faces seemingly all the time. Clearly, many people are expressing a lot of opinions and frustrations. I keep asking myself what is being expressed and what is not being addressed. I have seen a few articles asking these same questions. It seems that we, as a nation, have been acting out.
When a child acts out, most of the time they are doing just that—acting out. They may act out fear, frustration, impatience or the chaos in their environment because they do not yet have the skill or maturity to articulate clearly with their words. They are doing their best to communicate with the abilities they have. It is our job to seek to understand what is at the root of the problem, and address that.
My hope is that regardless of our experiences, beliefs or opinions, we can truly listen to what’s really going on. I hope that we can remember the “golden rule” and practice that, and treat each and every other living being with respect, dignity and as we would our “little children.” Rather than finger-pointing, blaming and shaming, my hope is that we, as human beings and leaders, will listen to one another with compassion and curiosity, and look for ways to heal what needs healing or solve what needs solving for all of us.
When we dig into our particular positions, it is impossible to understand another. When we open our hearts and minds, things can change. What would our lives be like if we began with the question, “How can we all have what we need?”
Can’t we disagree and still treat one another with kindness, respect and decency? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Walk a mile in their shoes. Consider what lies beneath and listen with an open heart and mind. I don’t always get there myself, but I work at it.
I love the old film with Jeff Bridges, “Starman.” The main thing I remember about that film is that near the end, Starman (an alien) awaits his capture by our government. He looks at the woman who is helping him and asks, "Shall I tell you one of the things I like most about your species? It is that, when things are at their worst, you are at your best."
We’re all in this...together. Let’s be at our best, even when things seem to be at their worst.