In the aftermath of this election, I am finding it extraordinarily difficult to come to terms with the outpouring of intense reaction, especially on Facebook. I have read the question, “How do we stop the hate?” And yet these same posts are so full of hate toward the president-elect.
In my world, “hate” is a four-letter word. And to me, it is by far the worst of them all. Not only does it send horrible energy out into the world. But guess what? It sends it right back to the person doing the hating. No, thank you.
If you want to stop the cycle of hating, then stop hating.
It is truly that simple. I did not say easy. I said simple. It will take a lot of practice. But you can’t simply stop doing something. When you take something away, you have to replace it with something else. So here is what you do….
Start small. Find someone in your life who annoys you. (If you’re one of the people having a hard time swallowing the election results, don’t start there!) A coworker, perhaps? A family member? A neighbor? A salesperson at a store? Now, choose one thing about that person that is positive. I refuse to believe that any human being is 100% bad. Surely there is at least one positive thing you can find about everyone. Just one thing. It can even be superficial. Maybe he has nice, straight, white teeth. Maybe she takes good care of her aging mother. Maybe he dresses really well. Just fine one thing.
I did this once and chose to focus on the fact that this man had beautiful blue eyes. He really did. There was no denying it. He was all kinds of awful things, but darn if he didn’t have two of the most beautiful blue eyes I’d ever seen. So every time I thought about this person, every time I had to interact with this person, I focused on those blue eyes.
It takes time. And it takes practice. Try writing down the positive thing and keeping that slip of paper in your pocket. So when you think of this person – or encounter him or her – you can put your hand in your pocket and actually feel that piece of paper, reminding you of the positive attribute this person has. Do it every single time.
Pay attention. Because you’re about to experience life’s real magic. Not some kind of hocus pocus or slight of hand. But this practice works just like magic. Before you know it, something will change. A shift will occur. Maybe this person starts treating you with more respect. Maybe he even compliments you. Or perhaps she just stops crossing your path. Maybe she gets transferred to another department. Or he suddenly moves out of state. Don’t worry about that part of it. Just keep practicing focusing on that positive attribute.
Let’s create a world where we can be respectful of one another.