This op-ed is not factual, but it is feeling based.
Love your enemies. - Jesus
No matter which side of which debate you’re on, every day is historic right now. People are charged up, clenching both their fists and/or their picket signs to voice their opinions in an attempt to cut through the airwaves of doubt and be heard. Yes! We are in action!
But something I’ve still not heard is the words love and politics in the same sentence. Many of our elected officials express greed, blame and a lack of personal integrity. Most even campaign on the promise that they’ll fight for us.
Where is the love? - Black Eyed Peas
Love cares more about mastering peace and has no time for mastering war. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never settled a dispute or made a friend by giving someone the finger. A dragon isn’t slain by a sword. The battle ends when you finally make friends with it.
Recently, politeness got blamed for the lack of progress, which makes it feel like kindness itself could be under attack. Kindness is an expression of love; a moral value stemming from inner peace which makes the outer world more beautiful.
Only kindness matters. - Jewel
Once a week I find myself trying to make a Waze-guided left turn in Los Angeles. I hate Waze for it. But usually, someone in the oncoming lane signals for me to safely go ahead and cross. That moment is such a gift. I mouth THANK YOU like I’m speaking in all-caps so that other driver can read my lips. Kindness rules.
I get a similar uplift when a sales clerk cares enough to make eye contact, or a barista nails my drink order with artful finesse, or a joyful toll booth attendant genuinely suggests “You have a nice day now.” And though those are merely random acts of tiny kindnesses from our service industry, they are enough to connect the dots of my day and draw a smile across my brain.
Modern life is but a plethora of transactions on a planet of relationships. When the transactions happen smoothly, I not only feel like I’m in the flow of life, but I feel as if life has my back. And then it’s easy to keep my cool and return the favor ― like a love feedback loop.
But when those transactions interfere with my schedule and expectations about the future, watch out. I’m not always Mr. Positive. I can also speak poorly of someone while waiting for that left turn to happen. I’m still working on that.
It’s in those moments when I trade in kindness for being right that I give up my piece of the peace.
Everyone wants peace and love. Both sides of any argument typically want peace, albeit their interests protected. Peace and love are neither new nor a new-age hippie concept. Peace and Love are primal.
Unlike hatred which is learned, love is as natural as a child’s laugh. It’s inherent in all of us. But because love shares a day with fear, love can require conscious effort.
Love takes action to slay that dragon of hate. It takes guts. It takes courage. It takes leading by example. It takes Please and Thank You, regardless of what you get back.
It takes listening. It takes patience. It takes responsibility for every relationship, every transaction, in each and every moment. It takes giving up being right in exchange for being kind. It takes going high. It takes surrender in order to experience the open-heartedness that begets compassion.
It takes an unwavering dedication to good manners.
It takes me. It takes you.
It takes everyone you know.
As long as I know, two people who treat each other poorly, there will never be world peace. So it’s up to me to help facilitate a peaceful resolution, no matter the scale of the conflict.
Love always wins because it’s the bigger of every choice. But for love to be heard over the noise ― to be read on the lips of the other drivers ― and for love to sustain itself ― #LoveTakesAction.
Mind your manners. - Mom