A Time for Healing

The election is over.

It was a long and bitter primary season and then election season.  On all sides there were angry and divisive attacks and accusations made.  And now living in the aftermath of a Trump’s election there are many seeds that could further the fractured and divided state of our nation.

Now is a time for healing.

Please, bring all that you’ve learned about Compassionate Communication into your political dialogues in the weeks and months ahead.  Remember that debating thoughts, interpretations, and evaluations always leads to debates over who is right or wrong.  And since no one wants to be wrong, whenever any of us perceive ourselves as being accused of being wrong we are likely to dig in our heals and become more entrenched in our opinions and thoughts, not less.  Debating our thoughts and opinions will not bring us together, but sharing our feelings is what naturally draws people into relationship with one another.

Remember that all actions are in pursuit of meeting basic human needs.  Voting for Hillary or voting for Trump were actions that were taken to fulfill common needs we have for safety, security, peace, growth, change, and help.  Don’t portray anyone’s actions as purely evil because they aren’t.  Everything humans do is in the pursuit of common human needs.

Remember that empathy is essential to creating the safety required to for people to be honest about the feelings and needs that drove their actions.  This primary and election seasons are the fruit of a country that is already divided and fragmented.  Moving towards more fragmentation and division will not end these kinds of elections; it will only create more elections such as this one.  In their election choices, people are expressing real and true pain in their lives; we need to listen to that expressed pain with empathy to build compassion and relationships.

And yet, we also must speak up about our own pain when we see injustice.  But don’t let your pain lead you into blaming others.  Expressing our pain directly is powerful.  “I am afraid because I want to live in a country where people are treated with compassion” is a much more powerful statement than “You are a ___.”

Now is a time for healing.

We cannot change what has happened.  But let us use what has happened to begin the process of building bridges and relationships with those we normally cast into enemy images.  The way out of this mess is compassion and empathy, vulnerability and intimacy.  We cannot end division by blaming and name calling; those are the very seeds of division.  And yet, authentic healing cannot happen without honesty about the pain we are experiencing.  So speak up about your pain, but do it with vulnerability that shares your authentic humanity.  Confront those who are expressing opinions and views that you’re afraid of, but do so with compassionate and empathetic curiosity about what pain this other person is in that they have such thoughts and views.

Now is a time for healing.

November 21, 2016Permalink
Free Practice Group

Twice a month I lead a free Compassionate Communication Practice Group. Open to those new and advanced students. We meet on the First and Third Monday of the month at 6 pm. We gather at 640 Hawthorn Lane in classroom 8. Classrooms are behind the church and to the left, next to the parking lot. Practice Group sessions usually run for 2 hours.

The next one will be on July 6th at 6 pm.