Seeking Tranquillity in a Hurricane of Hate

I had planned to write a post about self care. Specifically making ourselves a priority and making the time — even a tiny amount of it — to take care of ourselves as women not just moms. But I had a lot of trouble focusing on it. You see, I’m having a lot of trouble with the idea of telling women to be kind to themselves while we ignore the meanness of the rhetoric we have been surrounded by during this election cycle.

Let me explain. I have friends with very different political views. I respect our differences and think it’s part of what makes our conversations more interesting. Hell, my husband is not registered to the same political party as I am and has voted against many of my favorite candidates.

I am not talking about issues that are normally part of our political discourse. I’m talking about bigger things that have seeped into this election cycle in rare and disturbing form: hate, bullying, fear mongering, condoning violence.

So politics is not the issue. To pretend that this election has been normal politics is incredibly naive. If you haven’t heard of or been affected by the rhetoric you are living in some alternate universe — and at times, I really want to join you there. Because the words, thoughts, and everyday interactions we are being forced to look at and see are not pleasant ones.

Then I realize that despite the raw feeling we all have right now, the conversations we’re being forced to have are important. They are worth having and we’ve all probably avoided talking about things that make us uncomfortable for far too long. That’s why we find ourselves in this situation.

I am grateful my kids are too young to hear, see, understand, or ask questions about the circus show that is our Presidential election. But many of you have kids that aren’t so little. You’re having to have really difficult conversations about racism, sexism, religious tolerance, body image, and sexually predatory behavior. These conversations are so important to be having with our kids, but I can’t imagine it feels fair to be forced into having them when you — or worse, your kids, — aren’t ready to be having these conversations.

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably also having conversations about sexual harassment with the good men in your life that don’t understand how prevalent “locker room banter” is in our society because they don’t condone it and don’t spend time with people who do. You may be having to relive trauma every time a new headline breaks or a campaign commercial airs. Like me, you might be facing the reality that you’ve managed to create a protective bubble by surrounding yourself with people who think and act like you but are finding that there are vast swaths of people in our country that are afraid and angry. Hopefully we’re all taking time to reevaluate our own prejudices and realizing that if given a chance, people who look, talk, think, or pray differently than us can teach us a lot about our similarities as well as why our differences aren’t that scary.

Last week, in a really low moment when I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed by all of the hate infecting us via this election, I decided to do something nice for a complete stranger. I did it without any way to be thanked. It wasn’t selfless, in fact it was completely selfish because I did it to just feel better in my own skin. I did it to feel connected. I did it to spread a little bit of love. Sure, while I hoped it would brighten their day a tiny bit, the truth is I did it for me. And it worked.

You know what else? It spurred my desire to do more good, spread more love. Because for a few minutes I was able to silence the hate that has seeped into all of our lives. Imagine how quickly we can silence that hate if we all act from a place of love.

So instead of talking to you about ways to love yourself and take care of yourself, I’m going to challenge you to do something to love and take care of your fellow man the way you take care of your family. Challenge you to put a little bit more love into the world and see if it ripples back in vibrations big and small.

Leave a comment below or catch me on Instagram to tell me about your act of kindness and if it made you feel a little lighter. Maybe it even helped you love yourself a little more.

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