I am glad I waited a week to write this blog. Last week it may not have been pretty. But as I have had time to reflect, what has struck me is the empathy and connection I feel toward other Americans. Not what I expected in such a division election. Yet there it is.
As a woman, I was greatly offended by what I saw as a glimpse into the character of our now president-elect, toward women. Character defined as "what you do when (you think) no one is watching. Though I know vulgar comments happen every minute of every day, they do not happen toward me, and they do not happen in such a professional, public and what felt like condoned, way. And what it made me think in hindsight is, "Wow, is that how that feels?" When it comes to all the "minority groups" that were so generously and inclusively offended during this presidential election I only fit into one - women. And as far as the equality of women goes in this country, there is clearly room to improve, but it has come a long way thanks to past generations. So it was a bit of an eye-opening experience for someone who is of this generation, surrounded in life by respectful men who went to an all-women's college. What it brought forward for me in a more permanent way, was not anger so much as empathy. How must it feel to be of another, or more than one, "minority group" in this country (I use parentheses around minority group only because I'm not sure if that is the exact correct term) that hasn't made as much progress - or is in the earlier stages of that progress?
Above all else in life, I am an avid believer in equality. Across the board equality. From the janitor is just as important as the CEO, to we all deserve to choose who we marry. I am also an avid believer in the right to your own opinion - or way of doing things. That there isn't always a right and wrong, but different. You see the conflict here?
At first it felt like "hate" won. Now it feels more like "we-are-tired-of-politics-and-politicians-and-feel-this-is-the-better-plan-for-economic-growth" won. Though I believe there are people who voted for the offensive rhetoric, I believe the overwhelming majority voted against or in spite of it.
One thing I know for sure - is that In business and life in general, you cannot succeed beyond yourself. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "If you do tomorrow what you did today, you will get tomorrow what you got today." To inspire and realize true change, you must think different and do different. Be willing to become more intentional and self aware.
And so as I move forward - in a more empathetic, we are more alike than we are different way - what I feel
I can do to make a difference, as a citizen who values this country - is to drop the anger, it only fuels hate. And instead look at myself. To closely listen to where I pass judgement, toward myself and others. To when
I teach my children to judge. To when I quietly sit by when I hear an offensive remark rather than stand up for what I believe.
I want to be better. To grow myself in the direction I want the country to grow. Because that is how we win. That is how we make progress as a country that values diversity. That was founded on diversity. To become intentionally, very aware of our own thoughts and words - and try to put ourselves in someone else's shoes.
To be DONE playing small. And so I invite you to do the same. To look in, rather than lash out. To make a commitment to improve yourself toward others - both in how you think and what you do - to make our really great country stronger and more united.
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