I write today in the shadow of the shootings in El Paso, Dayton, and in our own backyards here in Chicago. The day is heavy with a deep sadness. The thoughts strangle me as I try to understand why – how we have created a world where rage, hate and fear is too often expressed with extreme and acute violence.
And while I know I can only control my own little world and do my best to do what’s right, it does make me wonder what I might be holding onto – what biases – that can cause harm.
Unconscious bias. It’s the result of deep-seated and unintentional thoughts. They are learned. They will stop us from leading a compassionate life every time unless we are committed to understanding our internal conversations. And though they may not fuel the heinous acts of this past week, they can still cause pain.
Our judgements can change how we see any given situation – any person – at any time. Our unconscious bias creates a clouded reality. What we have learned from past experiences can define our present. But, do they have to?
So how do I find clarity – the truth?
I recently heard a question that struck me. It leads us down an uncomfortable path that challenges the unintentional.
When we notice a belief that judges without love, we should ask ourselves…
What is it I need to believe to hang on to this feeling?
It’s amazing what we learn when we follow our answer with the same question - What is it I need to believe to hang on to this feeling? Then we follow the same question again and again until we get to the untruth of it for ourselves. At the end, we’re up against our most core values – the things we profoundly believe – and they don’t align. And so, we must change. We must interrupt our judgement.
Change isn’t painful. Resistance to change is.
But can we imagine not changing...living an unintentional life?
It’s time to shift the internal conversation...to be open to gentle self-honesty. It’s time to lead with compassion and abandon differences and hate. It’s time to build trust. We all want to belong. We all want to be loved. We are people. And when we community together – we are hope.