Marianne Williamson has plenty to say about politics. But she wasn’t giving her perspective about policy; she was commenting about tone. She tweeted, “The biggest problem today isn’t just that hate is speaking so loudly; it’s that love is speaking too softly.”
The October series, Holy Conversations, is looking at how to navigate all kinds of conversations. And let’s be honest – politics, especially right now in the US, is about as difficult as it gets.
The guy behind me at Starbucks was in a bad mood. When his friend quizzed him about his weekend, he grumbled. After some good natured back and forth, he finally admitted that he had been at odds with his wife. For two days straight.
He thought it would be fun to take the kids to Krispy Kreme for breakfast. Only his wife wasn’t laughing by the time they got home. Was it the second donut he downed? The carload of jumpy kids on a sugar high on the way home? Or the fact that he never got to the gym as promised?
And then there was her family’s barbecue on Saturday night. After a tough week, he wanted to get home early and flop in his favorite easy chair. She felt like they had plenty of time to spare on a weekend. Rush home? No way! They could stay for hours… And they did.
They got into it again on Sunday. When she got back from yoga, he was glued to the Seahawks football game as the kids played outside. She was the only one who saw the piles of dishes and laundry that needed attention.
He shook his head. “Once things started to be harsh, everything was harsh. The words we said making our point. Our response to the other person. Even the way we listened.” He laughed, “I’m glad to be on my way to work. At least I’ll catch a break for a few hours!”
He’ll probably work things out at home, but is their predicament a snapshot of everyone’s current mood? Think about your Facebook feed. If it’s anything like mine, the ratio of harsh to happy is probably pretty high.
When we’re thinking of a snarky “gotcha” response, we’re in the shadow side of our ego. We’ve cut the connection to Spirit, edging the better angels of our nature completely out of the picture.
It’s time to bring back courtesy and civility to all our communications. Instead of the deliciously cruel social media post, challenge yourself to come up with a million ways to say “I love you”. Here’s how you make kindness personal, whether you’re at work or home:
- I’ll email the report before I leave tonight.
- That was a great idea during the staff meeting.
- We seem to have a different perspective. Why don’t we give it some thought, and then reconvene tomorrow?
- I’ll clean up the kitchen.
- I can swing by the grocery store.
- Before I leave, where’s my kiss?
This week, where can you make the voice of love louder than hate? If you’re going to have the last word, make it a word of joy, kindness or love.