We are indoctrinated to believe that relationships are full of drama; in fact we have entire industries built up around soap operas and reality television, and our news and history books reinforce a continual story of good vs bad, stronger and weaker, the conqueror and the vanquished. These opposing forces feed competition and a fear of being left behind, whether you are the bullied or the bully, with someone just waiting to take your spot. A healthy relationship, what I’m calling graceful, is made up of shared power, mutuality and belonging, and inherent value or dignity.
Shared power is fed by free expression, by being whom and what you are, and not by being what you think you should be or a limited version of yourself. Belonging is fueled by connection, by understanding and forgiving ignorance and transcending differences. Finally, dignity is the simple recognition that despite any differences, there is an unconditional value to human beings as individuals, and collectively, including as citizens of a country. This value is honoured when we allow people and nations to have their own power, when we don’t try to solve all their problems for them, when we mind our own business as well as we do others.
In super-simplified terms, Canadians could potentially benefit from a more explicit sense of self and Americans a more explicit sense of other. By working together we expand the capacity of our citizens to continue the still young legacy of leading in the world. … More Sleeping with an Elephant
What I’m wondering about is the effect of “America first” on how we, as Canadians, see our own economy, and choices. We can:
1. Respond in kind, with our Canadian brand of national pride. “Canada first!” With honour and pride, it’s our reputation that makes us honourable or proud and we have to respond, aggressively, to aggressors, or risk losing that sense of worth. Revenge, retribution, vendettas, and ‘Tit-for-Tat’ reactions, are expected.
2. Be the victim. Be a David to the American Goliath. Attract global sympathy, not by emphasizing either our own strength or inner worth as Canadians, but by complaining about the America-first trade aggressions. Focus on our powerlessness.
3. Act with dignity. Operate from the belief that all people, and arguably, by extension nations, have dignity, inherent worth that exists independently of what others think. Yes, insults and attacks can try to take away our dignity as Canadians but, we can choose to exercise self-restraint in the game of “Tit-For-Tat” and direct our energy to negotiating agreements that reaffirm the soundness of Canada as a strong and resource-full trading nation. In any circumstance, we can act as masters of our own fate. … More Protectionism, Global Trade and Finding Our Dignity in a Bottle of Ketchup!
Looking back…How did we get from 1967 to 2017, from young girls to women, in an age that promised gender equality yet didn’t, really, take down the practical barriers? The answer, for me, lies in a fervent belief that our dignity was innate, that our sense of worth was never in question. …
This is tricky. Power, alone, doesn’t work…power without love is cold and ruthless. It is power ‘over’ others which can easily erode their dignity. And, love, alone, doesn’t work either. Love without power is polite, conflict avoiding and can undermine your own dignity or that of others if you create victims. … More Shoulders Squared: Celebrating Gender Equality in Canada