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Stronger Than You Know

Jul 01, 2020 01:33PM ● By Dena Betti

Dena Betti

Inside Job

Stronger Than You Know

By Dena Betti

 

It has been a challenging and heartbreaking several weeks of witnessing pain, sorrow, and anger over the murder of George Floyd and all that has ensued in our country since. 

Many people I’ve spoken to are feeling overwhelmed. Burdened by their own traumas, fears, and experiences, they have shared feelings of helplessness, sadness, and shame. But while we may have still more to endure, we should take comfort that more equitable and more loving days will return. And when they do, we will have proven ourselves to be more compassionate and earnest than many of our ancestors were by building a better tomorrow for all.  

The pride of who we are is not lost on our past but can continue to evolve and improve. You don’t have to be a social activist or show up loud on social media to make a change. You can start within yourself and in your own home. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Turn Inwards

Did you know we all have biases? Yep! Research indicates that we human beings innately perceive anyone different from us as a threat because our brain has an evolutionary requirement to do so. “The capacity to discern ‘us’ from ‘them’ is fundamental in the human brain,” wrote David Amodio, associate professor of psychology and neural science at New York University, in his 2014 paper, “The Neuroscience of Prejudice and Stereotyping.” As uncomfortable as it is to accept, it is true. When you start with this understanding, it takes the shame away and frees you up to start noticing where your biases may lie.

2. Seek to Understand 

In his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People ®, Dr. Stephen R. Covey said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.” So as you celebrate and support the cultural diversity of this nation, seek to understand what it means to be a person who promotes the spirit of mutual respect and understanding. But above all, in the quiet moments, ask yourself what you are doing in your own life and personal interactions to reverse structural racial inequalities. Then, if you do not understand, ask caring questions. Remember, when you seek to understand, your intention is to understand something through someone else’s lenses.  

3.   Commit to Love

The Dalai Lama said, "Even more important than the warmth and affection we receive is the warmth and affection we give. It is by giving warmth and affection, by having a genuine sense of concern for others, in other words, through compassion, that we gain the conditions for genuine happiness. More important than being loved, therefore, is to love." 

That’s it! Make an effort to show up in a loving, kind, and compassionate way. Of course, you will fall into anger and judgment at times, but you can always choose love again.

Final thoughts

Many of us are left to feel like we are not doing enough or are aware enough. But that could not be further from the truth. You are here to learn and grow…to be more today than you were yesterday. Be fair to yourself. It’s all an inside job, and those changes will ripple out to create transformations in the world that are so desperately needed right now and far into the future.

Dena Betti is a graduate of the University of San Francisco, executive director of the #hersmile Nonprofit, and a certified personal and business coach. Email [email protected] to book a coaching appointment or for more information.