What Makes a Light?
In all I do I will never give up trying to help others be self aware and create opportunities to better understand others.
To share stories, to ask questions, to step into uncomfortable.
In the United States, we are in a place of us versus them, where we use words such as disgust as we describe political affiliations. Our anxiousness as a nation is fueled by the lenses of political polarization and economic and social inequalities.
Many days this ways heavy on my heart. I do my best to be an advocate for creating spaces to engage in dialogue that can be very uncomfortable and extremely difficult. There are days that I look at myself in the mirror in the morning and think to myself, how will I begin this dialogue today?
I am currently teaching a course this semester titled, “Engaging in Difficult Dialogue: Leadership, Moral Courage and Critical Hope.” The course is structured around tiers to assist the learning community to build upon techniques for engaging in difficult dialogue. For example, here are a few of the resources:
1. Understanding Self: Social Identity Mapping
2. Brave Spaces versus Safe Spaces
3. Understanding Others: Johari Window
We use these resources as tools to assist us in our course journey. My hope is to give my students resources to engage in dialogue that is challenging.
A couple years ago a commercial by Heineken came out that brought people together with varying beliefs.
When there is opportunity to connect and build community we don’t always initially see in someone the things we disagree with.
Many times when we step into a place of disagreement with someone or a group of people we may become disgusted by their viewpoint versus trying to understand “why” the person believes the way they do. If we are disgusted, we tend to strongly disapprove of the person or thing that has offended us.
I’ll be honest, I have moments of passion where I feel disgusted by something someone did or said. As I engage in more work around dialogue I find that being disgusted doesn’t get me any closer to understanding or to a solution.
We are at a moment in time of division where we discuss the importance of democracy and freedom but are divisive in our actions. If we choose to look to one another with disgust based on our political affiliations then we lose sight of learning from one another to make change. One person does not represent an entire group of people.
How do we step out of our disgust and step into dialogue with those whose views vary from ours?
Should we be disgusted by what we disagree with?
How do we approach someone or a group if we feel disgusted by their beliefs?
I know some will think I am full of s***,
when I say what I am going to say as I continue to
write but here goes…LOVE.
That’s what I am full of, I am full of L***.
When did love become the negative. As humans we crave connection with others and we want to be loved. If we choose to come to one another with love versus disgust we will express greater interest in someone and exude empathy.
I share this because I am proud of my students as we are engaging in this journey together to find common ground with those we disagree with. To create brave spaces to have difficult dialogue, to acknowledge when we are not listening, to ask questions to better understand, to know the complexities of challenges and problems, to create solutions, and to address critical challenges. We can’t solve difficult problems in tribal silos.
Being full of L***, is it okay for me to use that word?
Love. Love. Love.
I said it. Love.
I say love is important because if we step into an uncomfortable space and see the humanness in others we choose to care for others and we want to hear their stories, we want to understand their “why” and we want connection.
Just maybe we will be able to stop ourselves from creating divisive environments of us versus them and realize we are all connected.
Why not choose, love us and love them.
What makes a light? Love makes a light.
Remove oneself from a place of disgust and step into the uncomfortable with love.