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What Do You Stand For? On fighting, peace and the semantics of change.

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When it comes to wanting to change something that we see in the world that we don’t like, the words “fight” and “against” are used a lot.

I’m all about righteous anger. I’m all about the Mama Bear within us all who will protect her young (and others who need protecting) to the death. I’ve felt that part of me bubble up a time or two and honestly, I’m proud of her. I’m so grateful she’s in there, and I feel safer in the world knowing that there’s a part of me (and many others) that would do anything in order to protect my baby girl and the other people I hold dear (including my fellow men and women with whom I don’t share blood, but with whom I do share humanity.)

I’m all about letting our emotions move through us. They’re called emotions for a reason. They’re meant to move.

Moving our bodies, crying tears, and making sounds are the best ways to feel what we’re feeling and allow it to move through our experience rather than getting stuck and festering.

When we’ve taken the time to feel what we’re feeling, it’s important to define what we stand for and put more attention on that than what we’re against.

Why? What we resist persists.

Focusing on what we don’t want is like dumping fertilizer on weeds. {Tweet it.}

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There are times to fight, for sure. But when we focus on the fight all day, every day, our nervous system never gets a break to allow our bodies (and hearts and minds) to rest and restore.

Perpetual fight pumps adrenaline through our bodies. Long term it causes elevated cortisol levels. And the excess stress hormones that have no escape valve make us lose sleep, gain weight, throw our hormones out of whack, and impair our ability to think clearly and tap into our inner knowing – which is the place that most deeply needs tapping into because it’s where all the best solutions come from!

Perpetual fighting is violent to our bodies, just like it’s violent to our communities. {Tweet it.}

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Adrenaline-soaked societies are not peaceful. Peace begins within your own central nervous system, then within your own home, on your block, at your own grocery store, and then spreads beyond.

Adrenaline soaked societies are not primed for solutions. Because, as Einstein reminded us, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

If you want peace, be peace. And that means unfurling your fists and taking a stand for something instead of against.

What if instead of fighting cancer we were for creating health?

What if instead of being against war we were for peace?

What if instead of fighting racism we were for inclusion and love?

What if instead of being against sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia we were for equality?

I’m not suggesting to take the fire out of your activism. But I am suggesting that choosing violent words to describe your efforts to create peace creates unnecessary friction.

This is not just semantics. Being against war and for peace are the same thing, you may say.

But they’re not. One focuses on war. One focuses on peace.

We get more of what we focus on. {Tweet it.}

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When the immediate threat has passed, and we’ve let the initial waves of emotion run through our bodies, then it’s time to choose what we’re for and end the fight. (This is, of course, not a linear process. It will happen over and over and over again. And we have the opportunity to keep choosing.)

When we’re against there will always be something to fight.

When we’re for our every move is toward a solution.

So, I ask you, what are you for? What do you want to see more of in the world? And how can you move toward it peacefully?

If what we seek is peace, we must act in peaceful ways. The world has enough fighting. The world has enough people against. Let’s stand for peace instead and let the violence end within us so it can end around us, too.

 

OVER TO YOU:

What are you standing for? What do you want to live for (as opposed to fight for)? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

  • Mary says:

    Perfectly stated at the perfect time!

  • Amanda says:

    This is the reminder I needed. Thank you so very much!

  • Amy says:

    I just loved reading this! It’s such a seemingly subtle but important difference to be for something or against something. Very well said :)

  • susan Johnson says:

    another great one, Kate. thanks. I have been deleting increasingly where needed this past year or more. And I love your supportive words.

  • judith a says:

    Gee, Kate —
    Something must be going on out there, to make you post this on your blog.
    I agree with you, but only to a point. Because when you are among those who have to pay the heavy price, there’s a lot more to fight for.

    • Kate Northrup says:

      Thanks Judith. It’s so true – I can’t possibly understand everyone’s experience during this time. And, as I said, there’s a time and place for a fight. And that needs to be honored.

  • So well said. We have started to focus on positive change in our community. How can we help our LGBT community feel supported, how can we increase donations to our local food pantry? Where can we show love vs. hate? Thank you for your much needed words.

    • Kate Northrup says:

      I love that you’re starting right where you live. That’s the place to start since sometimes thinking about the whole world’s problems can feel paralyzing.

  • Lorraine says:

    Kate – this is such a beautiful reminder that what we but our attention on expands. So if it is peace and love that we are for, then that’s what we should focus on. Thank you for shining your light so bright! By doing so you help those around you to do the same!!

  • Rose Mahan says:

    Thank you for saying this right now! I stand for love! I stand for peace. I stand for community gathering, consciousness raising, and constructive and creative action! <3 :-)

    Thank you for all that you are and for inspiring many!

  • Dora says:

    Many thanks Kate. Your thoughts were like cool water on a parched throat. Good to hear a positive post on what we are all experiencing

  • Robin Massey says:

    Fantastic, Kate. Thank you. If what I focus on grows and persists — what do I want to be focusing? Listening deeply another, seeing where I can give a hug and be a friend, and so much else.

  • Laura Handke says:

    We had a conversation about this in the last call of the Authentic Expression Wishweavers Circle as we stepped into our new vision. Our words and phrases were like: At peace. Fulfilled. Compassionate. A lightworker. Open. Inspirational. Life Changing. Noone said warrior, yet that might be appropriate, too. All standing grounded and centered in who we are individually. How we best contribute to Mother Earth in these times or any other. Many of us are feeling this. And as we share, we all feel this.

  • Stacyann says:

    I’m standing for a world where feelings and emotions are valued. And being “sensitive” is strength, not weakness.

  • Erin says:

    Yes, absolutely, wholeheartedly agree. I stand for love. And I decided to live for re-creating my health (on a cellular level), instead of fighting cancer. I am all for diversity and inclusion, standing for love always with healthy boundaries.

  • Sharen says:

    Loved this so much..bc it’s the truth! Cheers to us who put our asses where are hearts want/need to be. xo

  • Hey Kate!
    I stand for women, women who roar, women who dance, women who want and ask for attention, women who fight, crow, shimmy, cheer, lead, heal, teach, support, and set an example for girls.
    The positive force is so much more powerful and freeing than the opposing side.
    Let’s be SUCCESSFUL together, ladies!
    Paula

  • Jazzy says:

    I fight for equality, for the rights of all the children for free quality education , for mother nature and for what is right!!!

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