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Today I woke up listening to the news of the new American president.

I was first speechless. I never thought it could happen.

Then I became very emotional, going from disbelief to anger, then to sadness and finally to anxiety.

I thought of my children and felt that the world they’ll inherit will have nothing to do with the world I grew up in. The hippy days are over. It’s like we now live in fear and hate. “We” against “them”. Very gloomy.

MY VALUES

And then I came back to my own values. Despite who is in power, or maybe even because of who is in power, my values are here and they are to stay.

I believe in openness, in getting to know other people, in giving them opportunities. I believe that immigrants can contribute positively to society. I believe in equal human rights. I believe in solidarity. I believe that women own their body and their future. I believe in the coexistence of religions, skin colors, cultures and creeds. I believe in the right to live your sexuality, and to marry and have children with whoever you please. I believe in caring for ourselves, for other people and for our planet, and not necessarily in that order.

And this is something I want to embody, now and in the future. In my own life, with my own means.

THE WAY FORWARD

Now however, comes the tricky part. Caring for everyone means … caring for everyone. It means respecting you as a human being whether you have a different gender, race, nationality, religion or political affiliation than mine.

It means hearing you and talking to you even though I may find your opinions and behavior weird, wrong or downright crazy.

Cooperating with people you like is easy! Cooperating with people who have different views than yours is not.

And yet something inside me tells me that this counter-intuitive approach is the way forward. No longer “we against them”, but “we with them”. Reaching out, engaging and working things out TOGETHER.

Idealistic? Yes. Very difficult? Oh yes. True to my values, to my essence, to what I believe as a human being, to what I want to stand for? Actually, yes.

I know I’ll sometimes forget about this, I know I’ll sometimes choose to forget about this. I know I’ll sometimes lose my patience.

But I also know that every time I try I’ll be true to myself, and this gives me a deep sense of meaning and fulfillment. Because vitality comes from a sense of expansion, not contraction.

So now, when I feel the urge to contract, it’s actually time for me to expand.

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