It’s been an interesting weekend watching the March for our Lives and all the rhetoric that surrounds it on national media.
I have tried my best to remain neutral about this moment in time, but I find that, like probably most Americans, I do have an opinion.
The distinction I am doing my best to maintain is the distinction between my opinion and the “right” thing to do in situations like this.
It’s fascinating to me how polarizing an event like this one can be, and it brings up what, in my opinion, is the desperate need for all Americans to at least try to find common ground.
But even that statement implies a position which will shut someone down, because there is undoubtedly someone who believes just the opposite.
While I aspire to be a voice for common ground, it occurs to me more and more that that voice will most likely be drowned out in the media hype working to elevate one side or the other.
How have we gotten here, where money and power speak so much louder than does true communication and connection? Or has it always been this way and our technological advances have just made it so much easier and quicker to notice? Or is money and power even the issue?
My opinion is – and it’s strictly my opinion based on my own experience and research – that when we allow our egos to take command of our lives, we will be stuck in some statement we made years ago or some idea that was programmed into our consciousness long before we had the ability to form a thought or opinion for ourselves. Because we are stuck in ego awareness, we allow fear to rule us (and we do this without even realizing it, many times) which prevents us from changing our minds when new information or new inspiration is present. Because we dug in our heels so firmly and, many times, so vocally, it would mean we would have to admit our mistake or our lack of awareness, in order to change our minds. And so we find ourselves with our heads in the sand, trying desperately not to learn or to grow.
And it’s funny: humans are the only species who fight our own evolution. Many years ago Seth Godin wrote a book called Survival is Not Enough. In the original hardcover version, the book jacket says “most of us view change as a threat, and survival as the goal. Yet we work too hard to consider just getting by as our primary goal….Darwin was right. Evolution is a fundamental force of nature, and … this force can be unleashed in any organization. The first step is to eliminate the anti-change reflex that’s genetically coded into all of us.”
What if the students are on to something with the March For Our Lives? What if Rick Santorum has a point in suggesting that instead of marching, the students should learn CPR? What if No Labels Radio has valuable insights to offer? What if the NRA‘s mission to prevent violence and protect freedom is actually honored?
What if we really believed, deep down, what Dr. Maya Angelou proclaimed … that
“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”
Would your life be improved or made worse by learning to listen before you form your own opinion? Or have you found peace with the way the world is around you? (Both are possible.)
As with any situation in which we find ourselves, all of us have choices. In every case we can either accept the situation or the person the way he/she/it is; we can change our minds about the situation/person; or we can leave. Tim Connor gives us a lot to consider about these choices in this article.
When you consider what makes you most frustrated, upset, or angry, there is most likely a lesson or a message in that emotion that’s meant just for you. Take a look at why you might be so adamant about a position. Is it to get your point across just to get it out of your head? Is it to prove to others that you are right? Is it to get people who disagree with you to change their minds? For what purpose are you speaking at all?
Anger is a natural part of human existence. Its job is usually to propel us into action, but unless we are aware of the possible destruction it can cause as well, we will be using that anger to fight against what we don’t want or like or approve of instead of using it to help us rather stand for whatever cause we do believe in.
Call me an idealist or an optimist or Pollyanna, if you will. But I’d rather stand for possibility than be stuck in probability. I’d rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.