The focus of this post is not politics. It is written in love, about love.
Sometimes it takes shock to make people feel. Brené Brown studied it for her recent book Rising Strong where she says a large majority of people don't know how to experience emotions. Instead, they chase adrenaline rushes in scary movies, roller-coasters, spicy food, elections…anything to create a physical SHOCK. Shock fills the void.
We felt a physical shock this month.
Leading up to the election we each managed to ignore a lot of the hate and discord buzzing in the world and on social media. The night of the election, it seems Brené's research was proven. The charged arguments and defenses across the board showed how addicting the adrenaline rush from fear can be. The fallout on the morning after was hard to witness and impossible for us to ignore any longer.
Shock. Hurt. Fear. Worry. Anger. Maddie & I felt it all so strongly. It was crushing.
So, on that Wednesday morning, we had to make a choice. It's one we'll have to make again and again. Whether it's an attack on Paris, bombings in Orlando, school shootings or couples we know divorcing, the temptation is strong to either wallow in the fear and anxiety, or completely ignore it. But for the two of us, that's unbearable. Fear isn't the whole story, but it's part of it. So, Cord and I are learning to accept the fear, and then move forward to the part of the story that brings people back together.
This has been our mantra.
I want us all to know what it is to be brave.
To be brave we have to know fear.
We fear because there is hate.
Hate's opposite is love.
And Love is what makes us brave.
It makes peace with the reality that fear and hate are what make courage and love possible. It's a reminder that it's not our job to avoid fear. Rather, it's possible to face fear, and respond bravely with some love. As Brené would show us, our emotions are all valid. True vulnerability is experiencing them all.
The good news is, we don't have to stop at fear. We can feel our fear, and allow bravery to be born there.
A Practical Approach
There are so many ways to bravely support hurting people. The two of us are focusing on doing just that. Here are some practical things we've tried this month:
- Writing encouraging words to our internet friends on Instagram.
- Sending handwritten notes through the mail.
- Talking about connection with people.
- Listening to someone's story; really listening, not listening to respond.
- Loving people with food; coffee, donuts or soup
- Paying it forward with random acts of kindness.
- Enjoying creative expressions that add beauty to the world. Like this.
Do you have ways that you are being brave and loving? Share in a comment!