Understanding Through Understanding
I have been asked this question several times since November 8, 2016:
“What does Source think about the election?”
I guess it’s time to answer.
To put it succinctly, Source doesn’t have an opinion about the election. However, Source does acknowledge that the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States has generated a level of emotional turmoil not seen in the world for generations. Virtually no one has been spared from its effects, so this message is directed to everyone willing to ponder these words and move forward.
First, understand that there is always hope, even amid despair. The election was an election, nothing more. Yes, there are some individuals who will feel emboldened by the results, believing it is their duty to mistreat their fellow human beings. Instead of reacting in anger to such actions, pause for a moment and let yourselves understand one thing: An act that causes harm to another is not an act of anger – it is an act of fear.
Fear is a symptom of the stories we tell ourselves; stories of disconnection and separation, stories that the government, corporations, or people different from us are responsible for our perceived misery and emotional distress. Let me be clear… No one is responsible for your life or how you feel except you. You can choose to use circumstances, people, or institutions as your justification to continue telling your stories, or you can recognize that no one is responsible for making you happy or improving your life except you, and then you can act on that knowledge.
Most of you have been told many times that you cannot conquer your fears unless you face them directly. This is true. Your fears will not go away if you cling to the belief that it’s someone else’s responsibility to “do something about it.” Neither Donald Trump, nor Congress, nor your governor, nor your state legislature, nor your mayor, nor your local sheriff are responsible for doing something about your fears. You are the only one who can conquer them.
To live in a world where you feel valued, appreciated, connected, and contributing, you must value, appreciate, connect, and contribute. A better way to summarize that thought is this:
When you seek to understand others, you will be understood.
Do you want to stop fearing the people who scare you sleepless? Face that fear, stop hiding, and start taking advantage of opportunities to interact with them. Trust your instincts as those opportunities present themselves and interact with the individuals around whom you feel uncomfortable. Get to know them by listening with an intent to understand rather than convince. Remember that you’re talking WITH them, not AT them. Instead of asking why questions, ask them what questions. What makes you laugh? What are your passions? What are you doing to enjoy those aspects of your life? What can I do to help?
It’s tempting to ask why questions, and there are times when why questions are appropriate. However, why questions provide too many opportunities to tell the same old stories. Those stories do nothing except keep you stuck. So if you must ask why, do so with caution, and remember that if an answer sounds like an excuse or a justification, it is.
When you seek to understand others, you will be understood. Practice this principle and you will live in the world you want – and it will be one of your own creation.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, and the daily experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.