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Sometimes it can feel as though we live in a country that is becoming more and more divided. Turning on the news comes with an emotional assault and reminder that there is always an “us” and a “them”. More and more people are feeling burdened by the state of our disunity. There are more reports of people sharing feeling alone, disheartened, or terrified when reading about how one side responded to another.
With messages that one side is right and reminders that the world is always unsafe, as a community we experience a sense of trauma. We feel numb amongst messages that everything is going wrong. It can be hard to fight against the communal trauma response and hold on to the hope that things can be good; that people can see one another across the aisle, pew, and classroom. How do we find the “we” again?
Research on cultural diversity recommends that the best way to dispel feelings of “otherness” is to sit with and walk alongside someone from another group, background, and perspective. When we take time to be humans with each other, we can find a space of common ground. I’m often amazed when hearing people share about the moments of connection they can find with others when they are willing to be themselves around someone they would have thought of as “other”.
Looking towards instead of blocking off can bring healing. Commenting on the way that our current news environment impacts increased stress levels, lack of sleep, hygiene, and heightened fear psychology today recommends people only spend 15-30 minutes listening or watching the news every day. Perhaps another way to find and persevere in hope is to limit the messages of hopelessness we hear.
If you find yourself feeling hopeless or afraid, you are not alone. You are also not alone in wanting to find hope and wanting to connect with others. I hope you can take a moment to find a “we” and dispel the idea that it is always “us” and “them”.