Like so many others, I too was totally captivated and infused with a sense of social and cultural hope in the acceptance speech Oprah Winfrey gave at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards.
In 1976, I remember faithfully watching Oprah’s television show People are Talking. I admired her ability to ask intimate questions without one ounce of judgment in the answers she received. With an open mind and a receptive heart, Oprah generously granted unconditional acceptance in the answers to the most personal and poignant questions.
Three months ago, the ever-rumbling volcano of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and gender discrimination finally erupted with the entertainment industry guiding the blow-up. Likewise, volcanic eruptions will continue to explode until we as an American society can eradicate the toxic mores that spew sexual aggression, sexual misconduct, sexual inequality, and racism of any kind.
Having to stifle any personal and professional injustice, continues to perpetuate discrimination, misconduct, and sexual assault. For some survivors, there is an immediate ability to confront a responsible perpetrator. Yet for others, the confrontation of injustice takes months or years. And, it is the reference to “time” that we begin to know a poison creeping in…
How an injustice survivor chooses to share their story of inequality is completely and individually unique.
Most importantly, their story is shared by a timeclock only survivors deserve to understand.
As Oprah so passionately shared at the 2018 Golden Globes “The truth will set you free”. Yet, how truth gives rise to our freedom, is for each of us to personally determine.
Let me rewind and replay:How our truth sets us free, is as uniquely personal as our own fingerprints.Click To Tweet
Today there is great hope that the latest cultural eruption, will make majestic strides in eliminating gender or racial discrimination, sexual assault, and any sexual misconduct.
Yet, I write to bear witness that society must quickly notice the social poison that is lurking to stall our present cultural revolution. This poison is allowed to insidiously seep into our revolution because of simple fear. A fear so numbing it stifles any hope of social change.
And that poison is labeled Judgement.
Quite unexpectedly, a plethora of men and women have started behaving very judicial with respect to this cultural revolution. Just shy of wearing a long black robe and pounding a desk with a ceremonial gavel, many started disbelieving or discrediting stories of abuse, assault and heinous discrimination being bravely shared by survivors.
The reason people have become doubtful and mistrust the intimate stories that are publicly coming forward is this.
When we choose to mistrust a person’s life story; Or, when we choose to disbelieve a person’s tragedy; Or, when we choose to use the umbrella of negativity to shroud a story of victimization, we become simply judgmental, rather than vulnerably empathetic. It is impossible to be humanly compassionate while hiding behind a shield of doubt, judgment or mistrust.
To put more simply, if we choose to negatively judge another person and the stories they share, we eliminate our own ability to show trust, compassion, and kindness to the storyteller.
The only way we can continue to lessen the toxic volcano of sexual assault and discrimination is to trust the stories the survivors share.
Is it not better to believe in truth and share in human compassion than to bear a burden of judgment? If we accept another person’s words as truth, it allows us more time for love, compassion, and hope for change. If we choose to judge and disbelieve, we shroud our relationships in negativity and toxic emotions.
I leave you with this my friend.
The time has come for individuals to stop their fear and harsh judgment of anyone or anything that is different than their reflection in the mirror or their own lived stories.
Fear prevents us from trusting another person.
Just because you believe one story, does not mean another story is untrue.
Rather, maybe both stories hold truth.
Next time you hear or read something that brings about judgmental disbelief, ask yourself this question. “How is my judgment being helpful to myself or another?” I wonder if you just shared unconditional acceptance to the story, how the dialogue and social culture would change?
It is in letting go of the role as judge and gatekeeper for some else’s life story, that much emotional negativity will be lifted, and a cultural shift will continue. By not being the gatekeeper of another’s truth, you allow yourself to be present and compassionate in the moment.
After all, it is only with love and acceptance of what is, that we can diminish hate and give hope a chance.