Tag Archives: healing and trauma

LOOK TO THE ENDGAME

I do not cower to opposing views. I am not afraid of challenging my thoughts on different matters. What concerns me is the possibility of becoming close-minded and living in an echo chamber surrounded only by people who agree with me. It would be a stagnant and ignorant existence. Not conducive to personal growth or learning. It is crucial to surround myself with different people and ideas, even if it’s uncomfortable. Engaging people with opposing views can broaden my perspective and deepen my understanding.

You’re under no obligation to like everyone, forgive anyone, or tolerate hatred. Listening to opposing views is evidence of my desire for actual change on the topic. Finding common ground is essential for real, long-term change. As human beings, we all have thoughts and ideas shaped by our experiences and history. By listening, we can learn what’s in a person’s heart and get to why a person holds a particular view. Even if we cannot agree with their views, we can try to understand and see how they arrived at this opinion. Only then can we find a way to meet them where they are and attempt to make them understand our perspective. Or perhaps, we will discover that we are now unsure about our views and that it’s us who need to grow and change.

Don’t be afraid to challenge your views. The real weakness lies in being unwilling to listen. Every generation grows old and the young will challenge their views in the name of progress. Don’t get left behind because of pride. When you have a conversation with someone who has opposing views, listen, be patient, and be kind. No one has ever been insulted into an agreement. We can use what we learned to be the root of their views and take steps to change their perspective or, at the very least, find common ground to move forward on.

It is important to educate ourselves to understand why people believe what they do. The ultimate goal is to come together and solve problems. We often find that our end goal has some semblance of common ground if we listen. We can either dismiss hateful views and tell them to shove them up their ass, or we can make an effort to understand the reasons behind them and stop it at the cause.

I am not saying, we should tolerate hatred. I’m suggesting the solution isn’t to hate back. Rather, to put an end to it, we need to comprehend it. Once we grasp the reasons behind it, we can make a plan to educate others and work towards a solution. Resolving significant issues takes time, support, and education. Real change comes in the seeds we sow for the next generation. The truth is we may be banging our heads against a wall, with some people. But our efforts can impact future generations, and maybe they’ll embrace love over hate.

Love Not Hate

When it comes to dealing with hatred, our focus is often on the victim. We tell them to toughen up, ignore the negativity, and build self-esteem. This puts the responsibility on the victims to adapt and fit in better. Why not redirect our energy toward understanding what creates the hate? With this knowledge, we could create change at the roots & prevent it from happening. It seems more compassionate to support the victims and put those who hate, to work on becoming better people.

This is my chosen approach and I apply this to any issue where there are strong opposing views. I focus on the problem, get to the root, and hopefully find a solution. All while supporting the victims and growing, changing, and educating myself as well. Every one of us can play a part in making the world a better place if we would only listen. Look to the end game.

DON’T INVITE THE BEARS

Handling toxic situations can be challenging, and if we don’t approach them differently, we are setting ourselves up for failure. We will be doomed to live like salmon swimming upstream, expending energy and effort, only to make a few inches of progress. The difference is, the salmon don’t invite the bears to disrupt their momentum, to push them back to the starting line, or to pick them and their friends off one by one and eat them for lunch. Every time we allow a toxic person to disrupt our lives and force us to start again, it’s like inviting those bears to lunch.

Don’t invite the bears!

While toxic people are responsible for their actions, we are also responsible for what we allow in our lives. Although it’s understandable to accept apologies, if we continue to allow toxic people to stay and wait for them to change, it will poison the whole stream and cause innocent people to suffer. We bear some responsibility for the harm it brings to our journey. While the intentions are good, and some people love deeply and want everyone to be happy and thriving, continually living with toxicity while hoping things will change will never bring peace.

Everyone handles personal boundaries differently. Some have no boundaries and take on the burden again and again, some allow those lines to blur depending on the person crossing them, and some fiercely enforce their boundaries and protect their peace. There are even people who invite the bear to lunch, and we’ve all had toxic people slip through our radar. In these moments, it’s often not the toxic person paying the price and being given a chance to grow and learn, it’s innocent people, good people, suffering again and again. We have to see these moments as opportunities to learn and strengthen our boundaries.

Not everyone who is toxic is evil or cold-hearted; many believe they are coming from a place of love. Often, it’s a learned behavior or a response to trauma. We’ve all exhibited toxic behavior at some point in our lives, but the difference is, we learned from our failures and grew from the experience. We must be willing to force the hand of those who are harming themselves and others, even if it means letting them go to create space for growth. Sometimes it’s necessary to break the toxic cycle and prevent them from stealing joy and energy from those around them. As a friend, I won’t blindly support everything you say you want on this journey. I’ll always meet you where you’re at, but I expect the same in return. It’s essential to expect what someone is capable of and not accept anything less. We must love someone enough to challenge them and push them to grow, even if it’s uncomfortable in the moment.

If you want a friend who won’t be honest when you’re hurting yourself, me, or others, I’m not her. But if you want a friend who will fiercely support all of your efforts to become the person you want to be, sign me up.