The 2016 presidential campaign and election in the United States, as well as the events preceding and following the inauguration of the new president, have symbolized a phenomenon taking place in many parts of the world. There is an increasing polarization based upon political beliefs, ideologies, religions, and other factors. It’s logical byproduct is a greater level of intolerance for those different from us.
At times like this, it is incumbent upon those of us who focus on the positive to try to promote understanding and not demonize others whose points of view differ from ours.
Being negative is a protective mechanism. It is easier to be negative than positive when dealing with others because once you’ve criticized someone else, you’ve made yourself invulnerable to their criticism. You’ve set the ground rules, and there isn’t much they can say to hurt you since you’ve already been negative toward them. That type of protection doesn’t exist when you reach out to someone in a positive manner. That person could still come back and criticize or ignore you. As many of us have found out, however, a certain percentage o people will respond well to a compliment or an attempt at finding common ground – even if their opinions and attitudes differ from ours. And you don’t always know who that will be unless you are prepared to do a certain amount of risk-taking in your interactions with others.
I see it as somewhat akin to dating. A certain number of people will likely turn you down when you ask them out, but you will never find out if someone is interested in you unless you ask.
AS in so many things in life, being willing to take a risk can lead to success and happiness, but you don’t know whether it will work out before you try. That’s why it’s called a risk. At this time in our history, the world really depends on people of good will being willing to take the risk of seeing good in others – even if their beliefs seem to be fundamentally different than ours.