SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice, Coach Kim shares a simple way you can create change and peace in your home and community.
During the holiday season, our attention is usually turned toward giving, showing love to the people around us, helping the less fortunate and trying to create a more peaceful world.
This has me thinking about how unpeaceful the world feels right now. It seems that there's more division and distance between us than ever before. There's a widening gap between different political parties, racial tension, religious transitions and more.
University of Maryland professor Lilliana Mason released a study showing that the political divide between the parties is creating more disdain and even hatred for members of the opposing party than America has ever seen before. She found it wasn’t the issues that divide us as much as the political identities of the two major groups and our desire to fit in to one side or the other.
The internet has also made it easier for us to access news and commentary that may be biased toward our side, which has the potential to strengthen the animosity toward the other.
The problem is, at the subconscious level, our egos might like this “us versus them” idea. We may like it because when you cast the other side as the bad guy, you cast yourself as the good guy, which may be a subconscious boost to your self-esteem — but this all could come at a great cost to our country and communities.
The real problem behind these issues might be a simple, foundational belief some of us may have and that is the belief or idea that human value can change. Let me explain.
You may believe your value as a human being is dependent on your appearance, performance, property or popularity. These things change all the time, so your sense of value might also change and go up or down. Some days, you might feel good about yourself and others you don't. And because you may believe your value can change, you might also believe other people’s value can change, which in turn could mean that you also believe some people have more value than others.
Most of this might play out subconsciously. Think about whether or not you assess everyone you meet. You may see some of them as being better than you in certain aspects and some as less than you.
There are a million ways we may divide ourselves into "us" versus "them" and as long as we see “them” as the bad guys, we might create discord and not peace.
This is where each of us can step in and possibly create some change in our world. You can start this by choosing to see all humans' value as unchangeable, infinite and absolute. This would mean everyone has the exact same intrinsic worth no matter what political party, race or religion they belong to.
So, choose to see all humans as equal in value starting today. Give up judgment, gossip and the need to put others down. Resist seeing the political party opposite of yours as bad people and see them as simply having different opinions. They may see things differently than you do, but they might still good people with the exact same value.
You start creating peace on earth at home. Make sure you remind yourself daily that your own value doesn’t change. When you have a bad hair day, make a mistake at work or experience a setback, remind yourself none of these situations change your value. The more you talk about this idea and choose it as your truth, the better you may feel.
Make seeing all people as the same a daily commitment. Look for similarities and not differences, and reach out to people you may not have been comfortable around and try getting to know them. It’s hard to hate people up close.
Find people whose views are different from yours and instead of seeing them as wrong or debating the issues, ask questions, and see what you could learn from their perspective. If we all reached across the aisle and had more compassion for our neighbors, then maybe our leaders would learn to lean in and create compromise too.
Peace on earth beings with you and me. We can do this.
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