Human relationships can be like the double helix of genetic materials, strengthened when our strands weave together into chains that hold the code for our future.
Sometimes our best, most engaging connections start with outrage and end with fixation on what “shouldn’t be.” We bond over listing and sharing harms that have been done or risks that might upend our future plans and success. We spiral down together.
Other times, we see all that isn’t as we would want it to be as a floor, we declare it to be the bottom and take control over our decline. We ask questions that force us to reach up, to name what might be better and identify what else we need to know.
As we start this new year, it feels like we are all a bit caught in a downward spiral. From long-term care to vaccinations, travelling officials to small business failures there is endless outrage and significant examples of what shouldn’t be all around us every day. Just when we think things couldn’t get worse, we see people breaking rules or causing harms or simply not acting at all.
Spiraling down is easy. Falling is passive. I know it feels satisfying to bond over all that isn’t good or right in the world right now. But let’s try not to fall too far.
Spiraling up is harder. It means fighting gravity and actively choosing your next thought, word, action and reaction. Climbing is active and we are tired. When you feel yourself being pulled, resist. These times will pass. When they do, where on this helix do you want to be – at rock bottom or on the upswing?
Who peaks your curiosity and stretches you to imagine better? Forge your bonds with these voices. Follow these people. Let them pull you when you are tired. Support them when they look back. And, if you are able, notice who around you needs to be pulled up. Reach up while reaching back.
You are an important link in this chain that impacts the way we all turn.