Knowing the world is always better than we think doesn’t mean you don’t have preferences or are apolitical. It only means you are cultivating an eye for the good around you and are drawing a circle of attention large enough to include the good along with everything else.
With some of what is currently in the public consciousness–mass shootings, elections, climate change, terrorism–it's easy to lose heart. It is more challenging right now to notice all the good that is happening side by side with the crap.
Noticing the good isn’t an approach of reframing reality as we perceive it. It is expanding what all we perceive. For example, I can note how challenged I am by Donald Trump. But I can also note that millions of people believe in him and hope he will make their lives better. I can be suffer discrimination as a non-binary person and also marvel at the beauty of today’s Seattle cloudscape.
The trick is not trying to resolve the cognitive dissonance (the dissonance felt when having opposing experiences). We can be happy and sad, angry and joyous all in the same day. We can hate what someone does and, rather than "othering" them, we can still see and acknowledge that they are part of our humanity.
How can that be? Because of perspective. Perspective causes you to judge what you and others do. From those people’s perspective, they are doing the right thing. For example, Trump gives voice to many of the people who don’t feel they’ve been heard or considered in the recent past, to people for whom what I call progressive change is a threat to their deeply held values. NRA head, LaPierre, is seen by many as someone who helps people protect themselves. I dont' agree with them, but I don’t believe they are bad, or worse, sub-human for arming themselves.
I oppose Trump’s and LaPierre’s rhetoric and actions but I love them as my kin. It is of no consequence to me whether they love me back or not. I won’t deny their humanity because that is who I am and who I want to be. But I sure as heck hope we will collectively deny their ambitions. But we don’t have to hate them and dehumanize them. We can draw a circle around them and include them without being permissive or being apathetic toward them.
I invite you to take heart and look upon the world and see what is needed and take the action that is right for you. Whatever you contribute is meaningful. And I invite you to notice that goodness is all around you.
Well my friend, that’s the end of this week’s post. May you have a beautiful, beautiful day!
India Susanne Holden is the author of Crafting a Happy Life and The World Is Better than You Think. They are a writer, teacher, speaker, workshop & seminar leader, musician, artist, personal & spiritual development coach, Reiki Master, Tarot reader, entrepreneur, and genderqueer feminist.