The last twelve months’ events have seen many of us consumed by too much news. Finding the balance of staying informed without feeling anxious about things beyond our control is a challenge that we have all had to face and overcome. While a leader can have a lot of influence and control over our lives, we need to remember that we have just as much control over ourselves.
It’s easy to blame someone else like Donald Trump or social media algorithms that continuously feed us content that strengthens rather than challenges our belief system. But how we show up each day, how we think, and how we behave is our own personal responsibility.
Although I do not approve of Donald Trump’s actions or inactions, I feel very uncomfortable with demonizing one person for the choices of others. If you were to think of a gang of people bullying a kid in the playground, each gang member is guilty, not just the one who started it. My mom always told me to take the higher ground and that’s because it’s required.
Confession time, I have recently binge-watched the popular Netflix series Cobra Kai. When one of the main characters delivered the line, “The only way to end a rivalry is for someone to rise above it and be the bigger person,” it really resonated with me. The fictional tale of fierce rivalry between Daniel Larusso and Johnny Lawrence reminded me of the recent unrest in our world. Both characters have a different view of events and have created their own narrative.
The show reminded me of an interview that I saw with former CIA undercover officer Amaryllis Fox. When she was asked to share the most significant lessons that she had learned in her role, the answer blew me away. She replied that “Everybody believes they are the good guy and the only real way to disarm your enemy is to listen to them.”
Fundamentally we are all the same and, for the most part, we all want the same things out of life. Currently, we are picking sides instead of standing in the middle and saying this is what I stand for, as a human being, not red or blue. If we dare to put politics aside and step away from our keyboards, maybe we will find we have more in common with each other than we realize.
These are just a few reasons why I choose to build bridges and create meaningful connections. By listening intently, showing compassion, and being more empathetic, we can all help disarm any form of conflict. It’s too easy to blame the democrats, republicans, Nancy Pelosi, or Donald Trump, and we have seen where this approach has led us.
Albert Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. Maybe it’s time we tried something different and recognize that what we can influence and control is much more than we think. We need to stand strong in our schools and in our shoes by allowing our values to light up the world.
Leaders are only human and will often fail. When they do inevitably fail, it’s our responsibility to think rationally and remain objective. We all have a collective responsibility to choose how we act towards each other in a way that is entirely separate from governments and leaders.