July 26, 2016 Blog No Comments

The news is full oglass and broken glassf extremes. We’re gullible, we’re glued to it and it sells. From the fear mongering of the RNC to the mass killings of lone gunmen, we are being inundated and caught in the drama. I want to make an ardent pitch that we collectively and intentionally switch our focus.

Creating fearful drama to sell a perspective, to make people feel desperate, has been a formula successfully used in politics for ages. When people actually believe in distorted statistics and worst case scenarios, the fear ripples out in increasing intensity. The instability it generates unhinges people, escalating paranoia, hostile judgments and distrust. This is the space that the extremists and lone gunman step into.

When left unchecked, it generates a cultural belief and a new reality that informs political policy, perpetuating the problem. If you want an example, look no further than the devastating “War On Drugs”, created in similar fashion in the ‘80s by Richard Nixon during his campaign. This resulted in the arrest and lengthy incarceration of generations of mostly Afro-American males. We are just now starting to undo the policies that underpin the injustice. It will take much longer to undo the cultural and personal damage people have experienced.

I’ve had the honor to be involved in bipartisan supported criminal justice reforms that are sweeping the country. The reality of the reform movement flies in the face of the tired battle cry for stricter policing and other extreme measures.  It flies in the face of comments that our country is broken and must be fixed. The truth is positive changes are actually going on around us.  We must keep perspective and help others do the same.

It’s no longer a question of whether the glass is half full or half empty – we’re being coached to believe it’s broken. What can you do to counter this unhealthy and dangerous culture that is being deliberately created? Here are my thoughts:

TRUST WHAT YOU KNOW

If you have a different perspective from where you sit – trust it. If you question the veracity of data – do some fact checking. When we’re told that crime has tripled – recognize that we have had some of the lowest crime rates in decades and any increase will show a spike. The data may say it doubled, but if in some communities, it’s from 2 deaths to 4, that’s a very different reality.

In the social justice consulting I’ve been doing around the country, I’ve encountered unprecedented collaboration and interest in creating positive change. Large groups of people in state and local government, social service agencies, the courts, and the private sector are excited to have the opportunity to create pro-social transformation.

Reentry programs are helping people move into productive roles in society and trauma informed care is creating less traumatizing responses. This is bipartisan work at its best. There are no party politics or personal agendas, simply the desire to improve our communities. And it is working!

 If you have positive views, understand that your experience is valid and recognize that the drive to create distrust and fear does not serve our greater good.

 SWITCH YOUR FOCUS

Pay attention to the reality of your life. Notice the environment you have created around you. It serves a purpose; it is by design. Know that it is a solid foundation. Most of us have lives like this. This is our truth and it’s to be honored and respected.

I have been in large metropolitan areas that have a reputation for violence and unrest and I’ve been in quite rural towns. In both, I’ve experienced the same excitement and determination to see changes enacted for the good of all.  So where am I going to focus my attention? I believe and trust that change is actually occurring for the better.

 While we may hear about violence and unrest, keep your attention on the solid foundation of your life and be grateful.  Don’t allow your truth to be sullied by fearful reports.

 KEEP YOURSELF BALANCED

 The more we stand in our truth and maintain our balance, the more obvious it becomes that this is the stronger position. If you find yourself entertaining fearful thoughts, return to your truth and switch your focus – reclaim your more balanced perspective.

When I’m helping communities explore positive social transformation, there is no mention of unrest – the focus is forward thinking. This is their reality. It is most likely your reality as well.

 Use your own reality to counter and balance the concerns that may arise. Trust your instincts to know the truth.

 ACTIVILY SPREAD HOPE

 What’s your perspective – what is the hopeful message you want to communicate? You know that when people are steeped in fear, the tension and distrust slows growth. We tend to freeze and stagnant in that environment. A positive perspective generates energy that gets people moving. collaborating and thinking creatively.

From the experiences I’ve had across the country, I am very encouraged and hopeful. People are more motivated and eager for positive change than ever before.  I know if we can be proactive and spread a hopeful message – we will counter and alter the chaos that is being generated by fear.

Do your part to create and spread a message of the opportunities and possibilities around us. 

Does this review highlight a need to find or generate a more positive, hopeful perspective in your life? Transformational Coaching services help you discover that better outlook. For more information, go to my website www.spectrumtransformation.com. There is a link for Free Consultation if you have questions. I’d be happy to talk to you about it.

Written by Connie Milligan, LCSW
If there is anything I’ve expressed that speaks to you, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at my email, connie [at] conniemilligan [dot] com