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Finding Love In Our Differences

The past two years brought a lot of change and unfortunately it was just the beginning. Society is once again coming alive and children in most communities are back to in-person school, yet we are living in the midst of a pandemic, political turmoil is at an all-time high, and more than 70% of the nation feels the country is divided. With opposing community and political fractions, disunity can encompass every aspect of daily life. WebMd reports researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found: “A surprisingly substantial number of American adults perceive their engagement in politics as having negative effects on their social, emotional and physical health; two out of every five say politics is stressing them out, and one in five say they have had relationships and friendships damaged over politics.” An assemblage of political, communal, social, and public health point-counterpoints, often augmented by what is known versus what is perceived, includes, but is not limited to: masks or no masks, vaccinate or don’t vaccinate, elections are safe versus elections are rigged, and racism is systemic or just get over it. Improving Lives Counseling Services’ team of counselors and therapists are allies in helping clients navigate the divisiveness and political stress so many are experiencing today.

Most Americans are taught the importance of loving one’s fellowman – regardless of one’s politics, whether they return the love or not. Though many think of love as an emotional or physical connection bound by commitment, love can simply be someone or something which is interesting, liked, or enjoyed. Can love conquer all? No. However, appreciating the humanity in a person, recognizing their right to differing views and perceptions, and countering or controlling individual biases is a healthy way to begin.

The “20 Minute Guide – Communicating with Love” defines love as, “listening, offering, validating, and empathizing.” Let’s include paying attention, deferring judgment, and responding appropriately – courtesies that can easily be adopted when communicating with a social or political rival. Though states have been identified as red or blue, there are no totally monolithic cities or states. Conservatives can be found in northern cities and liberals in southern states. They live in the same neighborhoods, work for the same companies, attend the same schools, worship together, socialize together, and yes, show love for one another. They don’t allow opinions, perceptions, beliefs, religion, culture, or race to keep them from entering into relationships, or joining in holy matrimony.
Even lives wrought with conflict can be validated through love. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran said: “Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself, for love is sufficient unto love” and Shakespeare wrote in Sonnet 116: “Love is not love which alters when its alteration finds or bends with the remover to remove.”

Love lost due to the pandemic, politics, job loss, homelessness, ethics, culture, or divisiveness can be difficult to overcome. At Improving Lives Counseling Services, love originates from our understanding of the vulnerability found in human beings. Because divisiveness can affect self-esteem, and cause self-loathing, our counselors and therapists help people overcome a lack of confidence, self-doubt, self-worth – and barriers to self-love.

Loving someone whose beliefs differ from yours requires resilience. Our licensed team of professional counselors and therapists teach love to those who have allowed the nation’s divisiveness to make them feel unworthy. Those who find it difficult to love the unvaccinated, the unmasked, the culturally dissimilar, or the politically diverse can be taught validation; “different thinkers have a right to their opinion,” and empathy, “showing they care about the person whose beliefs differ from their own.” Gandhi taught, “You must be the change you want to see in the world, and love is the strongest force the world possesses.” We believe we can bring back the love one person, couple, family, or group at a time. Call Improving Lives Counseling Services to learn more.