“Like many Americans, I am very impassioned and distraught over the situation with children separated from their families at the border, but I went way too far. It was wrong and I should not have done it. I immediately regretted it and sincerely apologize to the family for what I said and any hurt my words have caused.”
“I didn’t think it was possible but @iamfonda found a way to be as disgusting as his sister Jane was when she stood with the enemy in Vietnam.
Doesn’t get more vile than wishing for a young boy to be raped by pedophiles.
There’s a special place in hell… “
–Donald Trump, Jr.
Reading these two tweets, and observing the events of the past week, reminded me of an important spiritual lesson. We become that which we hate.
Peter Fonda, like most decent people, was distressed by our country’s callous response to the immigrant situation. The fact that children were being put in “camps” and separated from their parents – regardless of the legality or illegality of their parents’ actions – was abhorrent to most. Most of my friends were distressed to the point of distraction over this.
However, Peter Fonda went “too far,” with his revenge Tweet because he began to focus too much on what he hated – and not enough on what he wanted. Donald Trump Jr.’s response was just as silly. Jane Fonda’s activism in the 1970’s has nothing to do with anything. Trump II used the remark against his half-brother as a means to advertise for anti-liberal sentiment. He even repeated the vile remark, giving it more energy and exposure.
Trump Jr.’s focus on revenge also motivated him to distort the truth: “Doesn’t get more vile than wishing for a young boy to be raped by pedophiles.” Um, it does get more vile – actually leaving small children in the hands of alleged pedophiles. That is definitely more vile.
But, this is the distorted thinking that comes from anger and revenge. Instead of dealing with facts and solutions, our leaders sound like elementary school students: “You started it!” “I know you are, but what am I!” “Who cares? I don’t. Do you?” “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” What’s next? “Yo mama?” We should be able to expect better from grown-up people in positions of influence.
When we react with passionate hatred toward that which we despise, not only do we not help the situation. We come to resemble that very thing. Just like two people who love each other passionately will eventually become more and more similar, people who hate each other will eventually engage in remarkably similar behavior.
If you hate someone or something, don’t focus on the hate. Focus on what you want to experience. It’s okay to speak out against immoral situations. It’s okay to avoid toxic people and the drama they create. Noticing what we don’t like, or don’t want, is the beginning. It sparks anger, which motivates us to come out of our comfort zones and do something. But, the next step is to put all our efforts into creating what we do want.
This also applies to interpersonal relationships. If you are in a toxic relationship of any kind – romantic, family, workplace – focusing on how much you hate a particular person will slowly turn you into that person. Anger is good for motivation. Anger helps you realize you can’t tolerate a situation any longer. It gives you the energy to change the situation, or get out of it.
But, once that decision has been made, and a plan is put in place, the focus has to change. The focus has to shift toward who and what you are becoming. If you continue to focus on the person or situation you hate, that emotional energy will eventually attract that type of person or situation back into your life again.
As Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith often says, “the Universe doesn’t deliver what you do or don’t like. It delivers what you are interested in.” Try to become interested in who and what you are becoming, not the people and situations you’ve left behind. They are not invited to come with you on your new journey.
The new journey will require you to shed old, bad habits formed during the past. The intolerable situation, or person, caused you to adopt coping mechanisms that will no longer serve you. Let go of any thought pattern or habit that doesn’t match the new experience you want to have.
And if you are still stuck in a situation or with a person you can’t stand, don’t wait for things to change. Begin to heal yourself now. From a healed mental state, you can work within the current situation to effect change, or figure a way out.
If you are in a toxic relationship, for example, don’t wait until you’re out of it to heal your mind. Begin to take care of yourself now. Your improved mental and emotional condition will bring things to a head sooner. Before you know it, something will happen that will provide a way out. Lasting change occurs from the inside out. We change inside first, then our circumstances change.
So, when an unthinkable, hated problem presents itself, here’s the plan: Notice the problem. Let the anger generate the energy to move you to action. Allow the anger to fall away like scaffolding. Focus exclusively on what you are trying to create. Forget about the people who harmed you. Leave them to stew in their toxicity.
That toxic situation has become no longer good enough for you!
Whenever we want to punch a racist in the face, or feed the son of a wanna-be dictator to pedophiles, we need to check ourselves. We need to step back and follow the path of peace: Anger to Action to Attitude Adjustment to Alignment with the All-Good.
Much love to all my Peaceful Warriors out there! And, as always, happy writing!