Category Archives: acting together

Build Bridges Rather Than Walls

 

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

~Plato~

I have been writing articles for fifteen years .My goal as been to encourage people to look at themselves, their inner workings and their relationships as a way to come closer to others as a world community. As such, I see it as our responsibility to understand each other, learn what is important to others and find ways we can work together in our common interest. I have heard from many people over the years who are working to find a productive and cooperative way to live in peace with others.

In the past few years, citizens of our planet have increasingly turned against each other. Finding ways to work together has faded and become tarnished as more of us are tempted to turn toward grabbing what we want, ignoring what is good for anyone else, and worshipping our own needs. In my opinion, President Trump has seized on this trend, especially latching on to the anger many people feel and express over not having what they want and feel they deserve.

Although he talks about his goal as sticking up for ordinary people, his decisions so far do not offer much to the common people. The benefits of his decisions are more geared to corporations and the wealthy, which includes him.

He has not mellowed any since his inauguration and appears as petulant as ever. In my study of anger for a book I am writing, I have come to see more clearly the connection between anger and fear. The more anger a person shows, the deeper his or her fear. As far as I can tell, his fear is of not being number one, not getting enough adulation and not being appreciated. With the smallest slight, he retaliates in anger.

Why do walls have a special place in his heart? My sense is that this is his way to protect himself from the ravages of the hordes who would decrease his fortunes. He clings to his fortune and exaggerated sense of himself to make himself feel worthwhile. The fear which underlies anger and rage are often rooted in early life experiences. I don’t know enough about his early life to speak with authority, but I would suspect that he suffers from emotional wounds at a young age.

We think of walls and bridges as constructed of concrete and steel. Yet if we feel a need to protect ourselves emotionally, we build emotional walls between ourselves and others to make us feel safe. After resolving our own inner hurt, we can then feel safe enough to start building emotional bridges between us and others.

The natural reaction of a hurt person to anger expressed toward him or her is to hurt the person seen as an attacker. Responding to Trump’s anger with our own anger just makes it harder for him to recover from his own sense of being hurt and escalates his tendency to react to everyone he sees as a threat with even greater anger.

I have come to realize that my anger aroused by Trump’s actions results from my own pain residing in my inner child. I will work on my own sense of hurt signified by my anger toward Trump. I will work toward a sense of compassion for his inner child and for the pain he has accumulated.

Life Lab Lessons

  • When you feel anger toward someone, look inside yourself to see what inner hurt triggers your anger.
  • Before you engage someone else, work to resolve your own feeling of hurt.
  • See others’ anger as a sign of their inner feelings of being hurt.
  • Once you have resolved your own feelings, see what you can do to help others see the meaning of their own anger.
  • Help them resolve their feelings of hurt if they will let you.

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Thank You for Your Apology

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Right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past.

~Tryon Edwards~

The day after the recent presidential election, I ventured out the door after a period of being stunned. I ran into a man I knew on a limited social basis. As usual, he asked how I was doing that day. I told him I was not doing very well. His very upbeat demeanor told me we had voted for different candidates.

We tried having a conversation about politics and in particular the election, both voicing our reasons for voting the way we did. I don’t think the conversation resolved anything or led either of us to alter his views.  I left his company resolving to be cordial in the future but to avoid political conversation which only served to upset both of us.

This has worked for several weeks. This morning when we met, he surprised me by apologizing for being overly strong in his statements in our last conversation of any length or consequence. I tried to recall whether I had said anything which might have offended him and apologized myself just in case. He assured me that I had not said anything to offend him and again apologized for his tone in the last conversation.

We were able to agree that the campaign and election were upsetting for everyone including both of us. We also agreed on being upset and worried about the great divide between the two halves of our fellow countrymen. We shared our fears about what this conflict would mean for the future of our country.

As I left our conversation, I felt the best I have since the election. Neither of us changed our minds, and did not try to change each other’s. We were able to share our mutual fears and hopes for the future. I realized that I do not need to see everyone with whom I disagree as an enemy.

Most of us want the best for our country and for each other. We just have different ideas about how to get there. At one time our leaders with different positions were able to sit down to find compromises with which we could all live. This does not seem to be the case right now. However, if we who elected them can talk with each other in the interest of our mutual benefit, we might be able to set a good example for our elected leaders. None of us can single-handedly change the tensions, disagreements, and hostility evident among our country’s citizens. Yet we can begin by building bridges between ourselves and those with whom we come into contact on a daily basis. That is at least a start.

Life Lab Lessons

  • If you are angry when you discuss politics, why do you think that is?
  • Look further to see what other feelings you might have?
  • Is fear one of them?
  • What do you fear?
  • Is it easier to discuss your fears with others than your anger?

Dispatches From the World Humanitarian Summit: Facing Our Common Humanity Together

 

Tomorrow in Istanbul, the first ever World Humanitarian Summit will begin. I have the privilege to be participating in this unique event, convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which will bring together world leaders and humanitarian-aid organizations to discuss how we can do more to alleviate human suffering across the globe.

By most metrics, conflicts have become significantly more frequent and violent in recent years. According to the UN, there were 409 political conflicts around the world in 2015, up from 278 a decade prior. This has contributed to the largest human displacement since World War II, with over 60 million people — about half of them children — forced from their homes because of violence. But despite the staggering need for humanitarian aid — the UN will request $20 billion in 2016, up from only $5 billion in 2006 — only 55 percent of the financing target for life-saving humanitarian assistance was met last year.

Excerpt from Forest Whitaker’s article in the Huffington Post– read more