This morning I woke to the news that your people had been protesting in the streets as the result of your recent elections.
As a citizen of the world, I worry for you all. I want to write to you as a Brit, who has recently gone through a similar kind of political upheaval in the shape of Brexit.
To many here (even some of our politicians it would seem), Brexit came as a complete shock. The fall out in the days after often wasn’t pleasant, which is why, I am taking the time to reflect on what went wrong, and how maybe, you can learn from some of our mistakes.
Please don’t let political choices turn neighbour against neighbour.
The post Brexit fall out in Britain saw some pretty awful behaviour start to manifest. On my local tram route into Manchester, there were reports of arrests due to racial and political unrest.
I had friends report of acquaintances who’d had eggs thrown at them in the streets. There was abuse, both verbal and physical, children started to feel afraid, and people who have called England home for several generations, no longer felt safe here.
No matter who you voted for, no matter what you believe about either candidate, do not allow people to use the political climate as an excuse to perpetuate bigotry, ignorance and abuse on either side of the debate.
And please, don’t indulge in it yourself.
Do not tolerate it when you see it happening, there are children watching and learning. The next generation that will carry your nation forward.
Please remember that we are all people first, no matter what the colour of our skin, the shape of our clothes and the religion that we practice, we are all members of the one human race.
It is our humanity that sets us apart from the animal kingdom. We can choose how we treat one another, we do not have to be driven by instinct.
We can take the higher road, we can choose to love our neighbour
Please don’t let fear guide you. Let it teach you.
Britain is still in a state of flux. No one is really sure how Brexit will pan out for us. We don’t know how our economy will fair, what it means for our future and even ‘if’ at this stage it will go ahead. It has left us with an unelected leader.
We live in a time of uncertainty. It could be easy for that to manifest itself in fear every day, if I let it. And for some it does.
I have learnt, that fear will always be with me, it is an integral part of who I am. It is there for our safety and keep us from harm.
However, when we choose to live and operate from a place of fear that can affect the way we love others and ourselves.
Fear can be a great teacher to those brave enough to gaze upon her.
For when we look into her eyes we see that which keeps us from love.
- Our fears about the future, may stop us from living in the present.
- Our fears about others may keep us from experiencing friendship and connection.
- Our fears about difference, can keep us from understanding diversity, which can then in turn, limit our empathy for one another.
- Our fears may perpetuate division, isolation, anger, intolerance or unkindness.
Or we can own what it teaches us, and refuse to allow fear to set the tone for how we live alongside one another.Don't allow fear to set the tone for how we live alongside one another. Click To Tweet
Today isn’t about being right or wrong. Today is about looking our fear square in the face and letting it be a mirror for our soul. It is being brave enough to see deep into our own eyes and decide today, that no matter what that fear is saying, it will not control our destiny.
Find connection not isolation
When BIG things happen in the world, it can cause a myriad of emotion to well up inside of us. Especially when we have such a vested interest in the result
For some it is a time of celebration and relief, and for others a time of grief and despair. It is important at this time to own how you are feeling. To talk about it with your people. No matter which side of the political divide you fall, you will need to debrief with those you trust.
Sometimes that divide can start to feel bigger than just political.
Families can turn against families, friends against friends, and stranger against stranger. Here in the UK, it sometimes moved from political to personal.
With emotions running high, people start to say things to others that they wouldn’t normally dream of saying.
We start to isolate one another by dividing into camps. But now, more than ever we need to reach out and form connection, with not just those who are like us, but those who are not.Today it is important to take down the walls of division, and build bridges. Click To Tweet
This can only be done by emphatically seeing one another as people just like us.
With their own hopes and dreams and vision for the future.
We don’t have to see eye to eye with people to show respect and common decency.
What matters, is not how you voted earlier in the week, but how you live in the world today.
- Will you live well?
- Will you live with love as your guide?
- Will you remember that our children are watching and learning, and being shaped by what they see and hear?
- That our fears affect the atmosphere that they are growing up in. Will they catch those fears or will they catch our love?
- Will you practice empathy even when others don’t?
- Will you build bridges or put up walls?
Our two countries are reeling, and will continue to for a little while yet. Hopefully it will be our humanity that propels us forward each day.
No matter what is happening politically, my hope is that ‘we’ collectively as individuals, continue to live well in our nations and thus the world.
To never compromise our love, nor our compassion, but remember we are all cut from the same cloth- we are people first, voters second.