Recently, the shootings in Las Vegas have triggered many reactions from people: praising the heroic efforts of first responders and everyday people who helped save lives, to blaming people, to calling for gun control, to making political attacks, to calling for unity and more.
When I woke up Monday morning and heard about the shootings in Las Vegas, I felt sadness, anger, disgust, and outrage. There is also a powerlessness when you realize that this could happen anywhere at any time. I thought, why this day, this location, this group of people? I am heading to Las Vegas next week, should I cancel my trip? My personal policy on decisions like this is to wait. By the end of the night, I decided, I am not letting fear run my life. I am living my life the way that I want to live it. I didn’t cancel my trip.
I feel sad and overwhelmed by the loss of so many lives. I feel deep gratitude for everyone who helped and is helping the victims and families. I prayed often throughout the past two days for inner peace and strength for the Las Vegas community and all of the families impacted by this event.
As the news came in, I started seeing how people helped and responded by saving lives. I also started to see some disturbing comments and even a lack of sympathy. I found myself thinking, “What is wrong with these people? This is a tragedy and a time to set aside differences and support each other.”
Then later, as I reflected on both divisive comments and unifying comments that appeared throughout the day, I thought about how America is not really about unity. America has always protected the dissenting opinions and our founding fathers never intended for people to be unified on everything. Many dictators throughout history have had unity. Hitler had unity. I think we can be unified on some levels and we don’t have to have unity on every level. We do have common ground and we do have vast differences. Let both emerge as strengths.
Freedom is about accepting different people and different opinions. I thought, “Could I love someone whose opinion I deeply disagreed? Could I truly honor and respect that people might have valid opinions that are not even close to the way I think? The answer is yes. I love people. I love people because they are people. I respect human life. I honor the fact that we each have our own path to figure out. Some of the greatest leaders throughout history have based their lives and actions on unconditional love- Jesus, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa… to just name a few.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.Click to tweet
So how about loving people unconditionally? How about seeing the value in each human life whether we agree or not? How about respectfully disagreeing? How about honest discourse? How about thinking about the highest good for everyone?
Love and kindness do matter. When you feel emotionally triggered by the media, take a breath and remind yourself that everyone reacts differently. People often don’t think about ramifications of comments. Things are said in the heat of the moment. There is plenty of room for calm, sane voices. I appreciate these voices when I hear them in the media. You can be a calm, sane voice. You can decide how to elevate your responses and contribute to positive results and to making things better. When it comes to you, you are a powerful and deliberate creator. You can act to make the world better. It just takes one tiny action, then another.
Even though I still feel confused, conflicted, and sad, I do believe in the powerful difference that unconditional love and kindness make no matter what is happening.
If you liked this, you will love my article, 3 Steps to Managing Your Emotions During Difficult Challenges.
Sheri Kaye Hoff, Ph.D.
Coach, Trainer, and Author, Dr. Sheri Kaye Hoff, Ph.D. is a Business and Life Coach known for inspiring massive action and a catalyst for personal and business growth, joy, and profits in a way that is fun, relaxing, and fulfilling, Sheri inspires people to the do work they love and make more money. Sheri helps business owners and professionals to relax into success. She uses both spiritual and practical techniques to obliterate blocks and create dramatic change. She is a business, leadership, happiness, and inner game expert. She has overcome nearly dying, and the loss of her brother at an early age. She has made it her lifetime mission to discover the keys to happiness and success and then share them with her clients and community.