Whether any of us like to admit it or not, there is a lot of negativity, anger and rage palpable between each other in America. It seems like the current President (and his changing cabinet) has had an impact on our daily lives. As a nation, we are stuck in fight-or-flight mode. Ready to attack anyone who says anything that remotely disagrees with what we believe.
I have lived in The USA for almost 14 years and there is clearly a divide between all of (who live here). And, these are 4 reasons why:
1. We talk more than we listen.
Have you ever noticed how people talk over you when you are trying to say something? I feel like now, more than ever, very few people are actively listening to each other but are the first to say something. The Dalai Lama says, ‘When you talk, you are only repeating what you know. But, if you listen, you may learn something new’. The lack of us listening causes us to stay stuck in our thinking and builds a wall between us and the person we are having a conversation with, because we aren’t giving ourselves a chance to be open.
2. We are attached to labels.
Democrat. Republican. Black. White. Asian. Gay. Straight. Vegan. Vegetarian. The list goes on-and-on. I’m not anti-labels; I just think that labels can stop us from hearing, loving and understanding someone who does not wear the same label as you. I recently received an e-mail from a fellow yoga teacher who told me that I need to force people to be vegan because I am a yoga teacher. Reading that e-mail broke my heart because she is probably saying the same to her students. What if she has a non-vegan in her yoga class and hears that commentary? How will that person feel? Most likely they will feel isolated, creating division between her and a student. It saddens me when I see this happen because I truly believe that labels can be limiting. Only liking someone with the same label as us is limiting and weak. There is strength in numbers, numbers increase when we let labels go and accept each other for who we are and who we were meant to be.
3. We are addicted to being reactionary.
It’s hard not to see an upsetting tweet, watch a clip from YouTube or come across someone being hateful and not say anything to them or about it. I’m not telling you that you have to be quiet and go unheard. But, I am asking you to learn to have a conversation with someone who has upset you without things escalating out of control to the point of no return. Reactions only ignite the reactions in others; however, mature responses allow both people to sit back and observe. Honestly, I don’t always get it right but that’s why we practice. We practice so that we can strengthen the muscle that allows us to be able to have a conversation even though we are upset; instead of blowing things out of proportion.
4. We are addicted to sensationalism.
This is an extension of the third reason. It’s become trendy to sensationalize and talk about the most outrageous thing that has happened. The unfortunate part about this is that people like our President, Kanye West and The Kardashians have figured out that this is the best way to get attention. And, with social media, attention equals money. Which is probably why they say these outrageous things in the first place. I made a decision that when I hear a comment that Kanye West has made, I will no longer spew something out (out of emotional outrage); however, I will sit with it and breathe, feel pity for him that he has to get attention this way and move on with my life. I could continue to be upset by outrageous statements that people like Kanye Westmake while he is chilling in his house worth millions of dollars, not giving two hoots about me OR I can move on with my life and live the life that I deserve. Anger, outrage, bitterness are all emotions that I want to detach myself from so there is no need to keep being attached to them.