Thank you, Donald Trump
November 9th, the day the Berlin Wall came down was also the day that Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Elections. 27 years after achieving the breakthrough of tearing down a wall, we have elected a man who talks about building new walls.
I was devastated when Donald Trump won. If Brexit managed to shake my core and question the status of today’s world, Trump’s success managed to destroy every little hope I had for our future. When I heard the news, I was overwhelmed by hatred, disgust, fear, denial and anger. I could not hold back my tears on my way to work as I made frantic calls to close family and friends asking for comfort and the guarantee that everything will be OK despite what is happening in our world.
Four calls by 09.00 o’clock in the morning and I was still in distress looking for answers and comfort. Nothing seemed to work, until I talked to a female Muslim friend who really understood the gravity of the situation. We talked, I cried, we hugged and we both agreed that we couldn’t undo the outcome of the election. I finally felt heard and understood.
Once I found myself in a better place, I remembered what a public speaking trainer told me about asking the right questions in difficult situations. Instead of asking ‘Why?’, we should be asking ‘How?’. Let me explain! Asking, “Why is this happening to me?” can be a never-ending, vicious circle that encourages self-pity, frustration and discomfort. Also, a ‘why’ question will never provide a real solution. The question we should be asking ourselves in critical situations is “How?” How can I solve this? How can I make this situation better?
Knowing this, I switched questions like this:
“Why did Donald Trump win?”
“Why are we moving from inclusion to exclusion?”
“Why did people vote for someone who spoke against women, immigrants, Muslims, victims of sexual harassment, people of colour, the LGBTQ community, disabled people and prisoners of war?”
“Why did people vote for someone who doesn’t believe in climate change?”
To something like this:
“How can I make a difference?”
“How can I fight for human rights?”
“How can I reduce my carbon footprint?”
“How can I resolve my own judgements and hatred?”
Therefore, instead of focusing my attention and negative energy on “them”, the voters and Donald Trump, I concentrated on myself. As the picture of this post shows, we can only control our own words, actions, ideas, efforts, mistakes and behaviour. I may not be able to control what is happening in this world, but once I put myself into question, I am flooded with ideas on how I can work on improving myself and inevitably improving the world around me.
Once I started thinking this way, I was ashamed for pointing my finger at others, when I still had so much work to do on myself. I may not have voted for Trump, but I most certainly could have done more for the society as a whole, human rights and the environment.
Therefore, as 2017 is approaching, my new goal is to focus on my own actions. The quote “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” has never made more sense. Until now, I always expected world leaders to take charge, to make changes and to make a difference. But, the truth is, we, the people, can take charge, can make changes and can make a difference in our everyday life.
Considering the unexpected turns that the world is taking, the only thing we can do is to empower ourselves even more. We can’t sit back and let it all unfold before our eyes. We have to engage in our societal problems, we have to volunteer, we have to speak up about our rights in organised and civilized protests, we have to respect the environment as much as we can and most importantly share with the world our efforts while pursuing others to do the same.
As simple citizens, it is harder and harder to believe that we can make a difference. Apathy and lack of involvement are becoming more and more characteristics of our society. Please don’t give up the fight just yet. Our children still look up to us. We are still responsible for the generations to come. Let’s not fail them! While Trump reverses back to coal, let us implement environmental friendly choices in our own homes. Let us talk to our friends, neighbours and extended family and convince them to do the same. Like Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook said, “Talking can transform minds, which can transform behaviours, which can transform institutions.”
Trump’s victory devastated me, but it also empowered me. I woke up me up from a profound sleep and it made me ask myself “How am I contributing to building a better world?” Therefore, I say, “Thank you, Donald Trump.” You have made me wiser, stronger and more engaged. And, for all the people out there that were outraged by this event, I hope you will all decide to take responsibility in your own hands. Because if we believe that one person can change the world, we should believe that about ourselves as well!
So, here is a list with what I have done already and what I still need to do. I encourage you to do the same. Make a list of what you have done already and encourage others to do the same. Than do a list of what you still need to do and encourage others to do it together with you. Please join the movement and pass it forward! It’s all we can do!
|Topic||Implemented changes||Future goals|
|-I decided that I will never own a car. Public transportation and biking are my only options.
-I stopped using any beauty product and I make my own toothpaste in the same container. This reduces my plastic waste.
-I recycle everything I can.
-I buy mostly local, organic food. I also grow organically my own vegetables.
-The only meat I buy is chicken. It is known that lamb, beef, pork and farmed salmon generate the most greenhouse gases.
-I turn off the lights when I leave the room and try to save energy as much as I can.
|-I still use a lot of plastic bags for the garbage. I should reduce the amount of plastic bags I use.
-I buy bottled water in plastic bottles. I should buy a water filter and reduce my plastic waste.
-I waste food especially potatoes and carrots. I should buy exactly how much I need.
-I use a lot of energy for heating. I should use less heat.
-Protests for things I believe in!
|-I am proud to be a woman.
-I am proud to have kept my own name when I got married. I am and will always be Anamaria Olaru.
-I am proud to have married a man who is a feminist. I am confident that our marriage and equal share of responsibilities will contribute to breaking stereotypes.
-I am a strong supporter of LGTB rights and I am very vocal about it.
-I should not be ashamed of speaking about my sexual assault experiences. I want to share my experience in order to help others and spread the word about the implications of such actions on one’s psychological development.
-I should not only embrace my gender, but I should also be more vocal about my rights. I should react when I see acts of discrimination against women.
-I judge immigrants that do not integrate and especially that don’t help their children integrate. I judge immigrants that stay on the social welfare and I feel frustrated when they get a free ride on the system. I should check where these insecurities come from. I should start looking at myself before judging others.
-Protests for things I believe in!
-I volunteered in the organisation of the LGTB parade in Brussels.
-I volunteered at Serve the City to interact socially with asylum seekers in Belgium.
-I definitely need to volunteer more regularly. I should volunteer at least once a week.
-I would like to engage myself in more acts of kindness where I engage with the persons that I help. This will motivate me to get more involved.
-Protests for things I believe in!
|-Spreading the word! I launched Chez Pink Elephant website in the desire to create a communication platform where we could all share ideas and learn from one another.||-Read more! Stay informed about what is happening in the world. This is the only way I can learn about what I should change.
-Spread the word and encourage change! Don’t be shy to approach people and share your ideas about how we could make this world a better place.
Picture Credits: Pinterest
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