To My Friends Who Voted for Trump: I Don’t Understand You, but I Love You.

The truth is I am mourning today.

When I began yoga teacher training in July I read a brief overview of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. The first limb, the yamas, govern our relationship with others and the world. My teacher asked that I pick which of the five yamas came easiest to me and which was the most difficult. I chose satya, or truthfulness, as the easiest.

I have really grappled with this throughout the presidential campaigns. Because satya does not just mean to tell the truth. It means to speak the truth in a kind way, even when it’s difficult. It also means to understand when it’s best not to say anything at all.

I’ve had to block friends on Facebook because their angry political posts upset me too much. I know everyone has. I’ve probably liked and shared posts that are less than kind. Some have probably blocked me.

Many of my friends began Facebook posts with, “I don’t usually post about politics, but…” as if avoiding the topic is something to brag about. I probably did too. And I understand why so many do avoid the discussion. We don’t want to be that angry person. We don’t want to create rifts in our relationships.

Yet often we are that angry person. Even if only among like minded friends or inside ourselves. And I get that too. I feel that. Today I must acknowledge that. This election was an angry one. No matter what side we were on.

Where do we go from here? How do we connect? I mean, really, how do we do it? I hope that most of us at least recognize that we must listen to those we disagree with. We must really listen. We must see each other as human, as complex beings, with storied lives that build and influence our beliefs.

BUT HOW DO WE DO THAT?

I watched the clip of Trump casually alluding to the 2nd amendment people taking care of Clinton. I saw the video of the unfiltered voices at Trump rallies, full of racism, sexism and discrimination against other religions. People say they like how Trump “tells it like it is” so I’m not going to lie. I think to myself, “What the fuck is wrong with these people???”

Is this really “how it is”? Is this who we are as a nation? Racist, sexist, violent and angry? Angry, yes. We are angry. I am angry.

How do we fix this? Really, I am asking. How do we fix this?

I am asking this of myself today as I grieve. We overlooked a segment of our population that is hurting. Instead of pointing at them with a finger of “wrong” it’s my responsibility to listen and attempt to understand. I do not agree. I will never agree with this kind of behavior and ideology, but they are desperately yearning to be heard and we must listen.

And to my friends and family who do not sound like the unfiltered voices. Those of you who didn’t really like Trump but voted for him anyway because you couldn’t bring yourself to vote for Clinton, because placing conservative values on the Supreme Court was too important to you, because you wanted a change.

Here is my truth. Here is my best attempt at practicing satya.

I see you as more than your vote. I see you as mothers and fathers, loving and caring deeply for you children and families. I see you as friends, opening the doors to your homes and hearts, offering a shoulder to cry on. I see you as disciples, devoted to serving a higher good, passionate about bettering yourself and living a life that aligns with your values. I don’t always understand you, but I see you. I see and love your whole and beautiful self.

And I ask you. Please. Let’s get to know each other better. These sides of ourselves that we often hide for fear of discomfort. Let’s work together to end the hate. Let’s make that our top priority in all things.

Photo Credit: School diversity many hands held together by Wonder woman0731 is licensed under CC by 2.0.