Thursday, December 31, 2015

Power Sources: a New Year's Hi Def Resolution

At this point in our modern society, I think we all know where we get our power. We get it from the sun, a farm of wind turbines, and the little switches on our walls that turn the lights on and off.

Too bad everything in life isn't as simple as generating power for the very computer I sit behind.  Ironic Note: generating power isn't simple, therefore everything IS that simple. #mindblown

The thing is, as we (and by we, I mean someone else) tries to figure out how to efficiently power our increasingly technological world, I believe we also need to monitor how we power ourselves. Same idea, different realm. Where do each of us get our personal power?  From our faith? Maybe our loved ones. On a Friday night, maybe it's ice cream and a #7 from Mr. Chow's. 

The answers really depend on a couple of factors: the person, the situation, and believe it or not, the trends. There are trends in personal power. It wasn't that long ago, for example, that Instagram followers didn't exist, let alone carry the weight of our self esteem. 

Lately, however, the power trend that has most caught my attention is an unexpected one. "Persecution." Now you wouldn't think at first glance that "Persecution" would be a source of power. People are usually persecuted in order to feel the exact opposite of powerful. But that knowledge, and a more empathetic society, is bringing it into a new light.

Let me use myself as an example. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have ancestors that literally walked and pushed handcarts across the United States to find a place where they could worship freely. I've spent every 24th of July since as a long as I can remember honoring those Utah pioneers that led to me being born where I was born and raised how I was raised.

As an adult, I keep the trials and persecutions of my ancestry like a badge of honor, and when I feel I need to take a stand, I take that badge out and pin it on my chest. I talk about how there was an extermination order against my people. Yes, that's "exterminate" like on a box of roach poison. In 1838, if you lived in Missouri, you were allowed to shoot a Mormon dead, and when the President of the United States was contacted about it, his official response was something like, "I feel bad, but it's an election year, and you guys are kinda weird."

Now if I'm being 100% honest with myself, the times I play this "persecution card," are usually when I'm trying to bring perspective to someone painting a stereotype that Mormons are squeaky clean, privileged white people that build sparkly temples and hate gays. Trust me; it's simply not true...except for the sparkly temple thing. #sequinsforever

Still, this is basically the current trend I'm talking about. People feel persecuted, which leads to outrage, which leads them to share their outrage, only then to be met by others that are so uncomfortable with it, they point out their persecution to level the playing field. It's a polarizing game of "My Life Sucks Just as Much as Yours."

So what if when met with the injustice of someone's experience, instead of leveling the playing field, I were to simply stop and look at them? After all, if I really have been persecuted, I would no doubt look at them and recognize myself. 

That's why in 2016, I'm giving up "Persecution" as a power source. I will take lessons, not definitions, from my opposition in life. I will wear my ancestry with pride without viewing martyrdom as an achievement where both persecutor and believer are celebrated. 

I will walk with a sense of unity, knowing "life's suckage" is something that makes us all the same, not what makes us competitive. When confronted by someone's injustice, I will give them empathy. When people find joy or outrage, I will not point to something else. And when I recognize my feelings begin to rise out of me, I will own them without making others do it for me.

This is what I'm calling my Hi-Def Resolution, a New Year's Resolution so crystal clear, it displays a picture of not only who I am but who I want to be. And that, my friends, is a little scary, but very powerful.


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