One Small Shift That Can Make a Big Difference

BY Susan McCuistion        September 29, 2017

There seems to be a lot of rage in the world today. Society is very polarized, and we feel our individual security is threatened. Some of those threats are real, and some of them are imagined. At every turn, we think that we need to protect ourselves - from other people, from politicians, from our environment, and from whatever else is distressing us.

I know I’ve certainly been caught up in it. It’s hard not to be.

We spend so much time fighting against things that we can be left feeling overloaded and exhausted. But when we feel threatened to our very cores, what is the alternative?

Standing for.

It’s a subtle, but powerful shift. For example:

  • Fighting against hate… or standing for love
  • Fighting against discrimination… or standing for equality
  • Fighting against immigration bans... or standing for human dignity

We know that the electromagnetic field of the heart is 60 times greater than that of the head. The heart sends the head signals that influence our perception and emotions. The positive feelings of “standing for” are more beneficial for us - in terms of our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health - than the negative feelings generated by “fighting against.”

Understanding and focusing on the difference between “fighting against” and “standing for” takes a healthy dose of self-awareness and self-regulation. It’s not easy. Ask yourself:

  • Do you find things wrong and criticize, or do you find things right and support?
  • Are you more full of negative feelings, like hate and anger, or more full of empathy and compassion? (On the spectrum of emotions, even “sadness” is softer than hate, so if you can’t make it to empathy, take one step at a time.)
  • Do you spend more time telling people how things “should” be, or listening to people talk about how things are, for them?

These are very personal questions. Answering them requires us to be vulnerable and honest with ourselves about our beliefs and values. And that might shake the core of who we are.

But times like these are all about change - change for individuals and for the world. If you want to leave the world a better place, then letting go of old ways is the only way to do it. We’ve spent our human history fighting against. Maybe it’s time we start standing for.

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Susan McCuistion

Susan McCuistion is a cross-cultural facilitator and coach with over 20 years’ experience in diversity and inclusion (D&I). She helps people understand how their beliefs and values influence their viewpoints; how their viewpoints shape their reality; and how to discover new outlooks that enable them to connect to, and work more effectively with, others. Susan takes a unique approach to D&I through a method called Compassionate Diversity®. Compassionate Diversity® uses 3 phases - Comprehension, Connection and Compassion - to help us recognize what others truly need from their perspective, rather than our own.

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