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Open Your Heart to Others Around You

We made it. Election night….uh…..week is over in the U.S. As so many people have noted, we have a lot of work ahead of us to rally around common goals. The U.S. is extremely divided and polarized. Bringing people together is of utmost importance for us to move forward.

Today, I want to share a concept that can help do just that. A concept that can help you spark compassion for others around you.

(Also, if you are a member of our community who lives outside U.S., this concept will still apply to you and your day-to-day life).

Sonder

I want you to read the definition of this word.

The realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own – populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries, and inherited craziness – an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

In all of the complexity and distraction of our lives, it can be easy to forget that every single person we encounter has their own back-story.

They have a complex web of experiences, fears, and psychological vulnerabilities that explain their behavior.

Common Goals

Ashley recently wrote a post that referenced some research that showed that our similarities as human beings far out-weigh our differences.

The same thing goes for our goals.

For example, most people want to:

Be safe.

Be happy.

Fall in love. 

Have a chance at success.

Ensure their kids are healthy and cared for.

These are just a few examples of so many common goals that we all share.

Putting it together

When you couple the fact that we all have similar goals, but we differ with respect to the intricacies of our lives, you can see where polarization and resentment begin to germinate.

We forget to consider the complex set of circumstances and experiences that might have led another person to approach the exact same goal that we have in a fundamentally different way.

Begin with Commonality

As we move forward and attempt to come together, begin on common ground. Shared goals. 

For just a moment, allow the smallest bit of empathy and understanding to take hold, get back to the fundamentals and build from there. Open your heart to love. 

Our country and our world becomes more interconnected, empathetic, and compassionate when WE become more interconnected, empathetic, and compassionate.

It begins with each of us. If your heart is closed, you may not be open to all the good in front of you. Even in tough times, positive thought patterns, spending time with family members or loved ones makes all the difference. 

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
– Dalai Lama