Do We Actually Want to Heal?
I recently had a confrontation with someone about something they'd done that upset me.
The conversation, in short, was along the lines of:
"I experienced you doing _____, it made me feel _____. I don't want to feel _____."
Everything about what I said was true. I was speaking to my experience, and you can't really argue with someone's subjective experience.
At the end of the conversation, the other person genuinely regretted making me feel the way I felt, apologized for the way their behavior made me feel and offered to change their behavior for my benefit.
We hugged, and I left the conversation feeling a type of superficial satisfaction...
But it didn't last. The next day I started to feel conflicted about the whole exchange.
I soon realized that the the problem was that no real healing had taken place---just the catharsis of my self-righteousness.
There was no healing because the exchange was completely one-sided.
They listened to me. They understood me.
But I never bothered to ask them:
"Why did you do _______?"
"Did you need to do _______?"
"How do you feel when you do _______?"
I didn't ask those questions because I didn't care to understand. I didn't care to heal.
I cared to be right.
What ate me up the next day is that I DO CARE about this person, (I LOVE THEM!) and once I got around to thinking about it, I realized that their choices might be rooted in suffering, in pain, in feeling lost, alone, or afraid. They might actually need my help.
But I didn't know. Because I didn't ask.
It's an easy time to feel right. There's a lot going on in the political landscape that, from my experience, is undebatably wrong.
So, it would be easy in this time to point a finger and shout at those who stand on the other side of the ideological spectrum for the way their actions make me feel. Even easier to ignore those with opposing views altogether, shouting vehemently into my bubble, cheering at the echoes of my own thoughts.
Best case scenario: I might get an apology, a change of behavior, a win in 4 years.
But there won't be any healing.
There won't be any healing until I take the time to ask, "why are you choosing this?"
There won't be any healing until I care to understand the other person.
There won't be any healing until I choose to foster compassion and empathy for every being, regardless of their ideology. Regardless of their actions.
Don't get me wrong: I say, yes!---Boots on the ground! Speak out against injustice! Demonstrate peacefully and passionately! Stand up for your rights! We CAN'T be complicit in oppression!!!
But I also I think we have to start asking, right now, in February 2017:
what do we want in 4 years?
Do we want to win? Do we want to be "right?"
...Do we actually want to heal?...
The path to healing starts with me. Every week for the next 80 days I'm calling someone whose political views don't match my own and engaging in a conversation with them with the sole intent of understanding.
If you're on this list and you think you might need to have that conversation with me, text me: 641-220-4996.
With love, respect, and hope,