At first I was angry, then worried, then angry again.
Then frustration kicked in, combined with a bit of fear. Then for a moment I pretended I didn’t care as the distance from the USA felt safe enough here at my home in New Zealand.
But then, the deeper feeling of sadness appeared. How can his rhetoric be acceptable to so many?
Then I remembered that we have been through much worse. I remembered that there has always been darkness so we can appreciate the light, conflict so we find out what we stand for, the different and the unfamiliar so we can go deeper and learn about ourselves.
With that thought, finally, the peace came into my body, relaxed my temples, eyes, jaw and shoulders. I could breathe again. I could feel my heart opening a tiny bit. There was peace. And then, there was love for a fellow human being that is brave and lost and trying their best to be safe and secure. Just as I am.
There was hope.
Now more than ever, or as ever, we need big-hearted and open-minded leaders.
The kind and generous ones.
The inclusive and curious ones.
The ones that have strength to stand tall in the storm and know that it is the storm inside us that needs taking care of.
The ones that will open their hearts and try to understand others even when others don’t want to understand them.
Those who will know that a difference in opinion can bring a positive outcome.
Those who treat others with respect even when they don’t feel respected.
Those who know that sometimes patience is as important as determination.
We need open-hearted leaders who know that it is easy to care and be successful when things go well and we have all the support. The true leadership, however, shines through when things are tough and when we do not have the comfort we think we deserve. Every so often, in our society, professional careers and personal lives there are those tough moments when we need to use all our knowledge and experience, combined with our values, longing of the heart and gentle whisper of the intuition to keep walking down the right path.
We need to walk it while being true to ourselves, realising that both fear and strength are inside us and that at some point, we too made mistakes.
Things are never as good or as bad as we see them. And they are always as good or as bad as we choose to see them.
So I tell myself, feel the anger and choose kindness, feel the fear and choose connectedness, feel the sadness and choose compassion. I am inviting more understanding, humanness, togetherness, curiosity and genuine care for myself and the other. Even when the other is so foreign and unknown.
The quote from Martin Luther King Jr sneaked into my mind, as a powerful reminder:
‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’