Guess how many monthly searches there are each month for online friend sites?
Did you know that there are up to 10,000 searches for “online friend sites” just 200 miles around my city? I know this because of the Google AdWords Keyword Planner I use to help me plan blogs. This got me to thinking about things I’ve heard people say in the past 10 days since the election about their friendships being in danger.
Now wait just a minute. As a culture, we have such a deep desire for connection and friendship we are searching for online friend sites. Simultaneously, we are engaging in bitter arguments with the friends (and family) we are already connected with over various issues surrounding the election. Does that make sense?
I know. I see it, too. Everyone seems to be feeling raw and emotional. Some of us are wondering if we can still be friends with people who have different view points than our own because the stakes feel so high. I want you to just stop thinking for a minute. Breathe.
That’s it. Take another deep breath. Hold it for a moment and let it slowly escape through your nose. Then repeat. Ok, you probably are feeling a little calmer and less reactive. I invite you to keep breathing as you read.
So there are two things I want to address with what is happening right now in our political and social climate.
We already have connections
First, we are all one. We are all connected. It can be proven in physics labs that we can physically measure our impact on others’ hearts and their impact on ours.
We truly feel and can measure the connection or disconnection with others in our hearts. For some beautiful information on this you can visit heartmath.
org for more scientific information if you are science minded. We are literally affecting our own hearts with our interactions with others. May they be positive and loving interactions even if we disagree.
We all want what is best for our loved ones
The second issue is this: we all want what we believe is best. All of us, those of us with bad behavior included, want what we believe is best for our families, our children, our schools and our country. Every person you are frustrated with is someone’s sister, mom, brother, cousin, husband, daughter, wife, etc. who wants the best for their loved ones.
If the person you are feeling frustrated with were your close family member, would you be treating that person differently than you would treat the person on the other end of a social media post you don’t like?
I get it. I mean, I’ve allowed myself to be sucked into it, too. And then… two really cool things happened.
Two cool events that helped my perspective
Last weekend I had lunch with some close friends. We call ourselves the Woof Pack because so many of us are hound owners (you know…hound dogs – Blood Hounds, Coon Hounds, Blue Tick Hounds, Dachshunds). Our political beliefs vary widely. My dear friend who is on one side of the political aisle came to me and massaged my shoulders and asked if I was ok after the election; she said she knew what it felt like to see your candidate lose. Oh, Paula. You are a gem! XOXO
And yesterday, I made a comment on a post on my cousin’s Facebook page. I hadn’t intended it to even be worthy of discussion. But it raised the hackles of a few of his friends. They got ready to attack me when my cousin lovingly protected me. He said that I was Family (capital F…love that!), defended my honor, assured the would-be attackers I meant no ill will, etc. He explained that I viewed the world differently but that I was a Good Person (again with those capital letters!). He diffused all tension immediately. My heart swelled. He reminded me of something so important. And that is this:
We don’t all have to agree….but….
We don’t have to agree with everything that is happening. It is right to speak your truth and stand up for your beliefs. It is right to protect that which you hold dear and value most. It is also right to treat everyone with dignity and respect. Even the people with whom we disagree. That person also wants the best for their loved ones. Thank you, Cousin. Love you!
We can only begin to have a conversation when we are willing to listen to both sides. We are all worth it. Our country’s children are worth it. And don’t think this is a cop out. I’m anything but neutral. But I am committed to listening with love to everyone to learn why they feel the way they do.
Obviously we need friends or the number of searches for online friend sites wouldn’t be so high. Knowing this, let us remember to treat each other with kindness, love and respect so that we might keep the friends and family we have.
Still want more friends and looking on online friend sites? Go for it knowing you are working to foster the friendships you already have.
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All my love,