How to move past your political preferences and connect again?

2 November 2020 by Marjoleine van Sinderen, 4c Unity

My heart goes out to the people of the United States of America. To all of them. It doesn’t matter whether they are Republican or Democrat. Everyone (!) needs to be heard, because there is pain beneath the surface. And when thoughts, believes and pain are not expressed by people, or are not taken seriously, a feeling of powerlessness comes in. “How should I pay for my studies?” “How am I going to get a job in my area with so much unemployment?” “What should I do if I can’t pay for my house because my neighborhood is changing and becoming too expensive?” “What should I do when my loved one is ill? Go to the hospital or wait because of the high costs?” “How should I feed my children?” How to live in an increasingly divided world where, moreover, a virus is gaining ground?

Powerless feeling will lead to frustrations

This powerless feeling of people, when it takes far, far too long, without a real helping hand, will lead to frustrations and corresponding actions. You don’t have to agree with the violence, nor with the response of the police, but wouldn’t you think that people would rather stay at home if they had the chance, if they had solutions to the problems they face? Their solution is crying out for help. They want their voices to be heard. The same applies to police officers who probably also prefer to stay at home or have a good conversation with their community (and many will!). Frustration, and no sympathetic ear and helping hand is devastating for everyone.

Hearing ≠ really listening

You can hear someone, but that is not the same as really listening to someone. And really feel their pain. Don’t let it overwhelm you, but feel and show compassion. To put yourself in their shoes and look around. What do I see? How does it feel to be here? And then ask the person: “What do you really need? How can I help you? Let’s meet halfway, because it doesn’t feel right to go on with my life if you are in pain”. I wish the American people, whatever their political affiliation, job, color, background is, to get the support, the tools, the education to help themselves. To get out of the situation they are in. In a way that they can hold their heads high and be proud. Wouldn’t it be great if all people would have good opportunities, prospects and starting position? So much potential would be used.

Helping someone will give you a long-lasting satisfied feeling

Not only achieving your own goals or making a lot of money, not just being engaged in self-development. But to dedicate oneself to the well-being of other people. That gives people a long-lasting feeling of satisfaction. (Yes, you both benefit from it). Think of times when you have had a deep sense of happiness. I mean, the real thing. What were you doing or thinking? Who were you talking to? Maybe you find out that you were listening to someone or helping someone. Think about the times when you felt sad… What were you doing? Were you busy with your thoughts and worries?

Meet again and find unity in your diversity

I wish the American people to meet again, no matter who wins the elections. That they can bridge their differences. That they can see the human being behind the person who lives next to them or who they work with or who they meet in the shops (and of course so many Americans see that humanity!) I wish them to be able to reach out and (figuratively) hold hands for a while and say: “I see you, how can I help? It may not be much, but I can really listen. I will try to do this without judging, but by asking questions, not suggestive questions, but open questions. And you know, maybe sometimes I have to walk away to take a deep breath and digest what you just said, because we’ll differ, but we’ll also have a lot in common, so I’ll come back”.

Choose to really reconnect. Find unity in your diversity. You will find so much beauty in it. You can do it! For yourself, for each other, and for the rest of the world.

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