Today’s Dear Genie™ features two letters on a controversial topic – the state of the United States during the current Presidential Administration. The first letter was sent to me several weeks ago and I wasn’t sure I would ever answer it. I wanted to address the topic, but wasn’t sure I could do so in a way that wasn’t political. Yesterday, I received the second letter and decided I would address them both today. Though I cannot respond without some level of displaying my political opinions, I have tried to address the concerns of these two letters from a healing perspective, rather than to debate political ideology. The first letter deals with the current condition of fear and stress in the country. The second with relationships and broken faith in others. – In peace, Genie
Stressed in the U.S. writes:
[The current U.S. president]* has got me stressed out. Every day there is new craziness from him and I feel like he is trying to become a dictator and destroy the freedom in our country. I’m mad and scared and there’s not a thing I can do except fight with people on Facebook! Am I over reacting? Am I just falling for media lies? Help! I’m going crazy here!
*I omitted the name of the president here.
Dear Stressed in the U.S.,
Aren’t we all? (I joke. But, seriously, this fear and stress situation is an epidemic!)
I feel ya! It’s almost surreal. And the craziness is moving so fast that it’s hard to keep up or even keep track! The lies, the gaslighting and psychological warfare, the firings, the executive orders, the 3 a.m. tweets, the hate rallies, the name calling, the vindictiveness, the assault on compassion and goodness, the destruction of programs that help people and our environment, the power grabbing, the incompetence, the racism and the hatred of the poor, the fascism approaching… It is a constant attack on the senses – on emotions – on sanity – Every. Single. Day.
It’s exhausting. It’s infuriating. It’s a feeling of utter powerlessness.
No, you are not over-reacting. You are just reacting to the constant barrage of stress and fear. It’s fight or flight mode – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, thanks to social media and 24 hour news which is full of lies, spin, exaggerations and drama to make you tune in! And this is true no matter which side of this discussion you fall on.
What you and just about all of us need to do is to take our power back. We need to get off the cycle of fight or flight and take back control of our emotions and reactions. We need to be responsive, which comes from a place of personal power, instead of reactive, which comes from emotion and fear.
To respond means you take the time to think. You reason. You ponder what is true. You question how something aligns with your own beliefs and character and moral code. When we respond we are in our power. When we are in our power we are strong, confident, rational, and behaving in the way we choose. We come from a place of light instead of from fear.
To take our power back we need to learn to control what is ours to control – and usually that includes just one thing – our own behavior. And, again – this is advice for EVERYONE no matter what your political ideology.
Here are some ways you can take your power back and be in self-control:
- Keep track of the things you know are true. We are being attacked with a psychological warfare tactic known as gaslighting. This is when we know something is true, but are being told it isn’t true and that we are crazy for thinking it is. You probably do feel you are going crazy sometimes. It is a tactic used to strip us of our power of reasoning. Do not doubt your own mind.
Look up AMY SISKIND on Facebook. She has been keeping track of the events within this administration and posts a weekly list of the not normal things going on. She has kept me sane for sure.
- Stop and research before you post on social media. As much as we can see the lies coming from the other side of this, unfortunately there are also lies, exaggerations, and drama created from “our” side to also keep us wound up and pissed off. This is reactionary and gives your power of reason away. Check sources. Check facts. Don’t post in anger – post in power! Absolutely feel free to share verifiable information. That is pro-active and responsive.
- Limit your news and social media, especially when you are feeling stressed. Guess what? That news will be there tomorrow and the next day – take a break.
- Be the change you want to see. Post responsibly. Post from power, not from fear and hatred for others. Check your own biases. Don’t fall for the tricks of fighting with others on social media with name calling, character assassinations, and the vile behavior you dislike from this president. Don’t hate. When we get drawn in to these fights we lose credibility, we lose the moral high ground, we lose whatever legitimate point we were trying to make. We lose when we take the bait. It’s really hard not to REACT. But, remember – when you REACT you give your power away.
- Be pro-active. VOTE! Get others to vote. Share truth. Share love. Educate through your living example of what it means to be a good person and responsible citizen. You can make a difference while also walking in integrity and personal power.
These are all things I have to remind myself of frequently, especially #4. I am a recovering Facebook fighter. That behavior didn’t hurt anyone but me – and it sure didn’t solve anything. In fact, I think social media has created a tragic shadow side that has manifested in to a festering toxic waste dump for fear, hatred, and cruelty towards one another. We have given much of our power away to this monster.
Check out the next letter for more on this.
In Peace & Power,
Image shared from Amy Siskind on Facebook.
Sad in [T]rumpland writes:
Hello. I have been feeling so sad and disappointed lately in so many people in my life. My mind has been blown in this last year as I have seen people I love show their true colors since Trump became President. I have watched as they have either supported him or been silent in regards to the racism, misogyny, narcissism etc. I have watched them defending him and even in some cases been attacked by them for voicing my concerns. I feel like I can’t even talk to them anymore. I feel like I don’t know them and don’t not just political differences it makes me question what kind of human beings they are. Am I judging? Being too harsh? How do I deal with this?
Dear Sad in [T]rumpland,
Like the letter above, I have to tell you that I can totally relate to what you are feeling. My family is multi-ethnic and the same people who say they love my children also say they support the current administration. How do you say you love a brown skinned child and then vote for the white nationalist nominee?
Do these people we care about secretly hold these awful beliefs or are they just able to compartmentalize the way they see this man? I mean, it is certainly a stretch for someone to say that they aren’t a racist and that they don’t hate poor people but they support this guy because he’s a good business man.
And what if they are now openly expressing white nationalist/nazi/fascist beliefs they have been harboring until it was safe to express them? We wonder if we ever knew these people at all! These revelations can absolutely lead to a real crisis of faith in humanity. This is something we really need to try and prevent.
How many relationships – family ties, friendships, and partnerships – have been broken due to this raging hate that has erupted like a volcano since 2008? It’s true that there has always been a shadow side of our country that is racist, ethnocentric, and malicious to those outside the white, male, Christian power base. We seemed to have progressed a great deal though until 2008 happened and fear took a hold of that power base and they have been hell bent on re-establishing their utopia ever since. I didn’t speak to one of my brothers for two years and I lost a life-long friendship within days of the Obama election. I lost all respect for most of my childhood friends and most of my family in the years that have followed.
There are millions who can share the same story, and it’s terribly sad and unfortunate. We need our family. We need our life-long friends. We’ve forgiven them for foolishness our whole lives, and they have forgiven us for our mistakes. Why are our differences in this situation so unforgivable from both sides? Why don’t we have compassion and understanding for one another anymore?
It’s fear of not surviving. It’s fear of not mattering in the world. It’s fear of total annihilation.
Look, we don’t have to peek too far back in time to see how awful humans can be to one another. None of us want done to us as “we” have done to others. On a primal level, the human understanding is that to survive we have to be in control. The 2008 election was a nightmare for a lot of good ole boys who were told growing up that if a black man came to power he would enslave the white man, plus a lifetime of other white nationalist propaganda mixed in. Fear of survival took a powerful hold. It’s easy to compartmentalize a person’s character if you think they are saving you from an awful fate.
What is happening since the 2016 election is the worst nightmare for those of us who grew up lamenting the Holocaust. So we are fighting mad and intolerant and concerned for the survival of our democracy and of the poor and of brown skinned Americans. We don’t want to listen to the fears of a bunch of people who have controlled everything forever. And they don’t want to hear from a bunch of socialists who want to annihilate their culture and way of life.
It’s fear. Primal. Life and death. Fear. And fear is not logical. Fear is not rational. Fear does not play well with others. Fear is Ego trying to save our lives.
We are choosing sides with abomination of one another because “if you aren’t with me then you aren’t going to help me survive and you might even cause my destruction”. This is the EGO on steroids.
We all need healing. Both sides. The biggest way we can do that is to follow my suggestions from the first letter and take our power back. We’ve got to learn to control that which is in our ability to control – and that is our own behavior. We cannot control what anyone else does or says – we can only control our response and our choices. Our personal power allows us to act from love instead of from fear.
The second thing we have to do is start communicating like humans again. Nobody is talking in person anymore. Nobody is listening to anyone. We are reacting to inflammatory posts with more inflammatory posts – and personal connection is absent. UGH! Facebook! The epitome of the festering toxic waste dump for fear, hatred, and cruelty towards one another. Would anyone say the things to your face that they say on social media? Never! Can you believe that it was just over ten years ago that we had to actually talk to someone face to face or over the phone to discuss these things? When we talk to each other in person we consider the things we say before we speak. We hear the tone in another’s voice. We connect on a human level. We listen to one another. We feel human emotion like compassion, and we have lines we don’t cross. We don’t know how to listen through social media. Boundaries we have in person are absent online. Human connection is missing from our society.
People break bonds with friends and family and say offensive things to others easily because the human connection is lost. They are a little box on a screen. They are not human. They are a machine. And what emotions can we put with a machine – cold, rigid, uncaring, dis-compassionate, and selfish. We don’t love a machine. We don’t worry about what we say to a machine.
We have got to become humans again. We have got to talk to one another and listen to one another and do it away from the machines. And to do that we have to be strong and coming from a place of love, not fear. We have to regain our power.
Don’t lose faith in humanity just yet. We have lost our way, but we can and will change. We’ve got to find the light and our humanity again. We just need those who know better to lead the way. I’m willing if you are.
In Peace, In Power – and maybe someday – In Person,