Category Archives: America

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?

Stress, Violence and Peace

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What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments,
but what is woven into the lives of others.

~ Pericles~

The pace of life has become faster and more frantic in recent years. Many people leave little time for thoughtful reflection or just sitting still. If you are older, you might remember when life was simpler and less hectic. If you are younger, you might have heard about more peaceful times from your relatives. How did we get from living our lives in relative peace to being obsessed with anger and its expression in violence?

Many people lately have become alarmed by “senseless” violence around the world. Have you wondered whether there is a connection between the spate of suicide bombings in Europe and the mass shootings around the world, including those in this country? I have long considered a possible connection between these events and their relationship to fear and violence. Let’s take a closer look.

If you have ever studied psychology or even read about it casually, you are most likely familiar with the fight or flight response to fear. Depending on your circumstances, when faced with something fearful to you, you react by attacking the source of your fear (fight) if you think you can overcome it or avoiding it (flight) if it seems more powerful than you are. Immediate fear and these responses to it follow a direct and immediate threat of attack such as by a wild animal or person. You don’t have time to think about it but automatically react almost immediately.

Anxiety is related to fear. The feared object might not be immediately present, but you can worry about what might happen or not happen in the future. You become anxious about your own welfare or that of your family. You might also fret about the possible behavior of other people or the course taken by the society in which you live.

If you are unable to find a way to relieve this anxiety, it builds and eventually leads to a sense of desperation or hopelessness. This can take place inside you and possibly remain unknown to others. You might find someone whom you trust with your concerns and share them or act on your anxiety by lashing out. Based on my experience and reading, it seems clear that everyone has a breaking point at which they feel forced to act in ways not typical of them. Perhaps some people will turn to violence as a way to be taken seriously for once. Some commit suicide when they feel their life challenges are more than they can bear.

The result can be a lashing out toward other individuals or society in general if we see others as responsible for our predicament. If we could understand the workings of others’ minds, much of the violence in our world might not seem quite so senseless. The violence makes sense to people feeling overwhelmed by life burdens. Most people tend to react emotionally to such situations without giving their response much thought.

If you could step back from your emotions, you might see more constructive possibilities and be able to choose one of them. Once you are overwhelmed, it might be too late to step back. You could make a practice of learning to step back from your daily routine even when you are not under pressure. Then you will have a better idea how to handle stressful life events when they arise.

Life Lab Lessons  

  • Practice setting aside peaceful moments or longer periods of time.
  • Without blaming anyone, consider how you arrived in this situation.
  • If you have been here before, what worked to get you back on track?
  • If you have no idea what to do, find someone you can trust with your challenge.
  • Once the crisis is resolved, write about what you did to handle it.

After living through the Brexit vote, Trump’s election is a familiar indictment of humanity

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The night the UK voted to leave the European Union, those of us Brits who opposed the idea started out watching with a sick mixture of hope and fear. As results began to come in, there was the sinking sensation that something we wholeheartedly believed was wrong and damaging could come to pass. We asked ourselves: How could our fellow humans—people we live side-by-side with, people we respect—want this?

 The night America elected Donald Trump as its 45th president felt like it had some parallels: a
desperate hope that a country wouldn’t be swayed by fear, isolationism, and the rhetoric of “them
against us.” The nagging terror that it would.
The next morning, these are some of the people who are looking at America’s choice, aghast:
people who have experienced misogyny, racism, discrimination, harassment or bullying of any
kind. People who have witnessed it. People who think one of the roles of government is to protect
us from those things. Excerpt from Cassie Werber’s article in Quartz- Read more.

Since 9/11, our fear has harmed us more than terrorists have

 

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Fifteen years ago, American self-confidence shattered amid the death and debris of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania and four hijacked aircraft.

The ripple effect has been felt ever since.

Before these terrible terrorist attacks, we believed history was on our side. Perhaps rightly so — the forces of democracy and capitalism had torn down the walls of communist tyranny, and the world was poised for an era of “perpetual peace” enforced by unchallenged U.S. power. In fact, foreign policy was barely discussed during the 2000 presidential election. The world was going our way.

Then Sept.11, 2001, happened. It was a shock because it was not supposed to happen.Read more.

OUR FOUNDERS: PRAGMATIC IDEALISTS

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\Here is a clip from my latest book, “Liberty’s Secrets: The Lost Wisdom of America’s Founders” – currently No. 1 in books on political freedom at Amazon – about the ultimate reason the Founders were able to set up our country for success:

“There is no special providence for Americans, and their nature is the same with that of others,” remarked [John] Adams. And his fellow Founders shared the same sentiments, which is one of the reasons they put so much emphasis, as we will see, on virtue, knowledge, and a unique conception of liberty that would act as a preservative of the American experiment. They were under no delusions that Americans were any less subject to the imperfections of human nature,
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/09/our-founders-pragmatic-idealists/#lFVLbhzZCZAb0Pbl.99