As I went to sleep last night, I noticed that the President of the United States and the First Lady had both tested positive for the novel coronavirus. I knew that social media this morning would be a veritable shit-show of bad behavior from both the left and the right. To my chagrin, I was right. So, let’s talk for a moment about emotional maturity and why we need to work on developing it.
Emotional maturity stems from developing emotional intelligence. Specifically, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize the emotions of others, see them in ourselves, and respond to them accordingly. Unfortunately, due to a constant 60-year media message promoting narcissism and a false of self-importance, we’ve lost the ability to feel the emotions of others and recognize the need to express compassion for the people we don’t really like. We are, for lack of a better term, a nation of emotional toddlers.
Do I think Trump is a good President? No. Do I think Trump is a good person? No. Do I think Trump would feel compassion towards others if the roles were reversed? No. But here’s the point…
This isn’t about Donald J. Trump. This is about me and the opportunity I am being given to become a better person.
I can’t change Donald Trump. I can’t change how he responds to people in need, how he treats the differently abled, or how he responds to the needs of the immigrant children his policies have separated from their parents. Beyond voting, there is nothing I can do about what cruelty Trump inflicts on others. But there is something I can do about how I respond to his personal crisis: I opt to feel compassion for him, his wife, and his family.
Hating Donald Trump is an exercise in self-hate. I despise his policies and his behaviors, but I do not despise the man because, in truth, I don’t know him. Also, the hate I would feel would originate in myself and so be a form of self-hatred. The concept is hard to grasp if you’re not a psychologist or in the helping professions, but the emotions we feel about others don’t speak to their character but to our own. I would imagine myself a better person, and so I must choose those feelings that make me a better person. To this end, I choose not to gloat, not to despise, and not to relish in the potential death of Donald Trump; I choose to express compassion and concern for those people who do love him and for the man himself.
If this seems alien to you, if you find yourself shaking your head in disbelief, if you can’t wrap her mind around this position, do yourself a favor and try. Try to understand that it’s really not about Donald Trump, but it’s about you. There’s nothing you can do to change him, but there are things you can do to rise above the crowd and become a stronger, more vibrant, and more empathic person. Recognize the narcissism of sadism and reject it as best you can.