The Strength of Unity

Written by Melissa Kessler, MA, PCC

I have been watching what’s going on in our country, and the amount of division, discord and hostility has now intensified to a level I have never before seen in my lifetime. This makes me very sad, and greatly concerns me because it is not serving our humanity. I know of many people who are no longer speaking to family members and friends because they have opposing views. It seems that we are being divided and pitted against each other in terms of black vs white, male vs female, LGBTQ vs straight, Republican vs Democrat, and now vaccinated vs unvaccinated. It may feel like it’s “us” vs “them,” especially if you have been criticized or discriminated against; however, we are all in the same boat together as a nation and as a human race. United we stand. Divided we fall TOGETHER.

Our commonalities outweigh our differences. When it comes down to it, we all want the same things: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and a better world for our children. Our
differences have made our country a great melting pot of diversity – our greatest strength.
This is a pivotal point in our history. We have two choices before us. We can either buy into this narrative of divisiveness, or we can choose to come together instead. The way we come together is through compassion, understanding and conversation. When people lash out in anger, it is usually because they are in fear or pain. Instead of retaliating and feeding into this anger, we can choose to be compassionate by being willing to listen and see things from their perspective – starting a conversation. Not everyone has the same beliefs and views as you do, but that doesn’t make them inherently wrong or bad.

Most people have good intentions and do the best they can with the tendencies and beliefs they have. Our beliefs drive our actions, and our actions drive our results and ultimately our reality. Therefore, if you believe someone is a jerk because they hold an opposing view from yours, this will inform your actions and the reality of divisiveness you experience. However, if you instead choose to believe that someone can hold a different view without threatening your perspective, your actions will be more compassionate and result in a reality of mutually respectful conversation. We also judge ourselves on our intentions, but we judge others by their behaviors because that is what we see without knowing their intentions. We need to give others the same amount of grace we would give ourselves by assuming they have good intentions and are doing what makes sense to them.

Despite our struggles, how we may feel, or how we may be treated by others, we always have the power to choose our response and to be kind. My hope is that we will all choose to be a little kinder and more compassionate toward one another and that we choose to come together in our humanity through conversations. These challenging times are opportunities for us to learn who we are and who we choose to be by our responses to them. Who will you choose to be?

“We see the world not as it is, but as we are – or, as we are conditioned to see it.” – Dr.
Stephen R. Covey

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford

“Peace is not absence of conflict; it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”
Ronald Reagan

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