I’ll get straight to the point. Emotions, stress levels, and uncertainty are all running high after the election, regardless of which “side” you’re on. Personally, I am feeling all these things, and more. Everything seems very personal. The day after the election, I wrote this open letter and posted it on my Facebook wall.
I need you! Today I am sad and scared and bewildered. I don’t know what to do or what to say. I feel so lost and so I need you. I need to know that love kindness and decency still matter. I need to know that they still exist. I need us all to band together, for each other, and hold space for each of us to feel what we feel. I need to know that as a woman, as an immigrant and as a lesbian, I still matter. People often come to me for solace, for words of wisdom, and for a shoulder to cry on but today, I need that shoulder, those kind supportive words.
I need to not give up, I need you all not to give up! We need to prove to the world that indeed love and kindness and decency do matter, and live in each and every one of us.
I love you all.
The response I received was very positive, overwhelmingly moving, and incredibly supportive. I am truly lucky. I asked for help and I got it, more than I would have imagined. Receiving all of these wonderful messages helped me get back to a positive mindset and ready to make a difference!
This past week was “Kindness Week” where I work. It was something that I was very involved in creating and making happen (with a lot of help from some very awesome people!). It was not timed to coincide with the week after the election but turned out to be very timely. Kindness week had a flow to it. First, it was about self-kindness (often overlooked!), then sharing kindness within our company walls, they spreading kindness out into the world. We created a “Kindness Wall” where people could share their thoughts on the following 3 questions:
- What does kindness mean to you?
- How do you like to show kindness?
- How does it feel when someone is kind to you?
The things that people wrote were amazing. Some were simple (like “Make People Smile”, “Drive thoughtfully” and “Kindness feels like Confetti inside”), and some were very poignant (one person shared that they were given life-saving medical treatment by a stranger as an act of kindness). You just never know what people are going through, and how a simple gesture from you can make a real difference. Granted, we can’t all pay someone’s medical bills, but each of us can do something!
So, what’s next? The challenge for all of us, I believe, is this. How can we make our world/country/state/county/city/town/street a better place for all its inhabitants? How can we become part of a solution instead of amplifying the problem? It’s about channeling your energy into something positive. Here’s what I know, we are all human. Most of us have the best interests of each other at heart…there are for sure people on the margins, but they are the exception, not the norm. They are also the loudest so it can seem that they are more prevalent than they actually are.
What will you do to counter the hate and division? Before you say “what can one person do” think about people in your community who might be feeling marginalized…is there a neighbor who you can reach out to and simply be kind & let them know you are there? Is there a diner where the servers work for low wages and tips and can you surprise them with an unexpected tip or even a thank you card? If you see someone being bullied, can you step in and show your support? There are so many opportunities to make a difference, it doesn’t have to be monumental and I can promise you this…it will be to the people you touch! Use the three questions above as a guide, then go out and be kind!
So, what will you do?
Ciara Gogan, Empowerment Specialist & Impact Coach
Originally published at www.ciaragogan.com on November 19, 2016.
Originally published at medium.com