We're teetering on the brink of something big. Our home is in a critical state, and as the occupants of this planet, we are obligated to act. But the good news is that we do have a choice, and although each individual's impact on the political and socioeconomic climate of the planet may not be immediately apparent, living from a place of love instead of fear will start to make some serious ripples that will reverberate a message of peace throughout the world.
Don't join the fist fight or the yelling match. Instead, grab your neighbour's hand and stand up together - no matter your insignificant differences - and respond to oppression with unity and solidarity. When enough of us start loving fully and fearlessly, compassion and empathy will replace greed and fear. We can change the principals that our global society operates from, but we've got to start including one another in the conversation.
And this is the most important part: it starts small, first as an idea, then a resolution - it is far more simple and effective than you could imagine: just love. Throughout history, we have heard the same story: "Here's much to do with hate, but more with love" (Shakespeare); "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace" (Jimi Hendrix); "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend" (Martin Luther King Jr.), and "All you need is love." (John Lennon). Okay, we get it: love is the key. So why is it so hard to practice?
Dr. Brene Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston who spent 6 years trying to answer (through research and scientific studies) the question: what is it that makes people feel a sense of love and belonging? Her Ted Talk on this subject has garnered around 25 million views, which is an indicator of how interested people really are in the topic of loving more fully and feeling more connected.
Here is what Dr. Brown found:
Whole-hearted people with a deep sense of worthiness had the following attributes in common:
She explains that vulnerability is the real key, calling it a "necessity": a fundamental willingness to be open is crucial in feeling worthy and receptive of love and connection.
But what is going wrong? How are we degrading this?
We try to numb vulnerability because it makes us feel threatened, but the problem is that you cannot selectively numb emotions, so we numb everything: the joy, hope, and love. We also have a real problem with not knowing the answers, so we attempt to make everything easier to understand (and ultimately, control) by making the uncertain certain: we try to label and define everything so that we can keep an organised mental catalogue of who and what we are able to trust, and who and what we are meant to fear. Categorise - segregate - isolate - we are unwittingly assisting the political empires in their "divide and conquer" strategy. We also attempt to perfect everything, including ourselves and others, and we project those same expectations of flawlessness to those around us (particularly to our children). Lastly, we pretend our actions do not have consequences; if it doesn't directly effect us, we tell ourselves it doesn't matter.
So what can we do to be more open and loving?
We need to allow ourselves to be completely seen by others. By opening ourselves up and being honest about the beautiful mess that we all are, we start to unconsciously tell others: your weird shit is okay, too. This way we can see our similarities rather than our differences. We also need to love with our whole hearts. Don't be afraid of getting hurt: be afraid of missing out on great love. Find the courage to accept the unknown and move forward with an open and giving heart, despite the risks and challenges. We need to practice gratitude and joy in the face of fear. Rather than focusing on the things that are paining you or holding you back, shift your perspective to the things that you're grateful for to remind yourself that there is always beauty amongst the ugliness. And finally, believe that you are enough. This is the single most important step toward becoming a whole-hearted person.
The current global climate of hate, fear, division and destruction is a product of our collective consciousness. Too many of us are terrified and feel defeated, and this is what the political giants are counting on. You do have the power to effect change - we are not helpless to the choices of our governments. But even if you don't believe that living from a place of love and openness is enough to change the world, make a conscious choice to live this way for your own peace and happiness. And over time, you won't be able to ignore the positive impact you're making on the world.