Every headline lately seems to mention Donald Trump. Merely typing his name seems to assure you’ll get readership.
So Donald Trump.
But I bet you know I can’t stop at that.
Because I wonder why he is resonating with us so much right now?
People have such varying responses to him and what he says and seems to stand for. I know there’s real living, breathing man with the same emotions that you and I experience – fear and anxiety and love and sadness and excitement and joy . . . the whole gamut – underneath the façade we see on television.
But no one really cares about the real man, now, do we?
We want to see what we want to see.
And what we’re seeing in him tells us more about ourselves than about him.
I think he’s playing the Jungian Shadow figure for us. If we don’t like him, he’s showing us the part of ourselves we don’t want to acknowledge.
If we do like him, he’s playing the part of ourselves we wish were stronger, more assertive, more powerful, less restrained.
Or maybe he’s the Trickster, the one who’s turning everything upside for us, showing us the absurdity of our time and our society and our own individual lives.
For years now I’ve wondered if Donald Trump were for real. I’ve thought that he is just playing a role, one that gets him lots of attention. Attention that, for him, translates into a lot of money.
I feel P.T. Barnum in him. You know, someone who knows there’s a sucker born every minute. I feel sure Trump is reveling in the attention and commotion of these past few days.
But what does all of this attention say about us?
What part of me would like to insult anyone who challenges me, anyone who asks me to look deeper, to have more substance, to quit complaining about my problems but actually to implement changes to address them? What part of me would like to dismiss a questioner as a bimbo – so that I don’t have to do the hard work of coming up with a substantive answer?
I hate to admit it, but there is that part of me.
I keep her hidden most of the time, but sometimes she peeks out in my psyche and makes me feel like a little, powerless kid. And sometimes she actually talks before I can stuff her back down again!
What part of me loves attention, loves to be admired, loves getting special treatment, loves being flattered, loves the idea of being rich, of having so much money that people kowtow to me?
Yeah, that person is in me, too.
I tell her humility is better. But she doesn’t always believe me.
What part of me is judgmental and dismissive, likes to feel superior, especially intellectually superior or superior in achievement, likes to feel I’m better than or have done more than someone else?
Yep, she’s in there, too.
I’ve been less successful in keeping her under wraps. But she’s at the top of my list to transform.
I see a lot of Donald Trump’s negative qualities in me – if I’m honest with myself.
I’m also aware that each of these “bad” qualities has the other side, the positive one.
I know I can be challenged and can defend myself appropriately, not be cowed by a direct, aggressive question. And I know that if the challenge is accurate, I can take a deep look at myself and decide what I need to change . . . and actually start changing.
I know I can seek positive attention – and I can allow myself to enjoy it when I deservedly receive it.
I know I can work on being less judgmental. Heck, I’m currently working on it – every single day.
Why every day? Because that’s how often I catch myself judging. Every day. Many times a day. I get lots of opportunity there.
You can see that right here. I want to judge Donald Trump.
But I also realize that in judging him, I judge myself.
So I suppose I owe him some thanks. Him, along with all of the presidential candidates.
In my reactions to them, I get glimpses of myself, both my positive and negative qualities.
That’s partially why I’m enjoying this election season so much.
I’m learning a lot about myself, what I like and don’t like about myself.
What I need to change.
But that’s also the rub.
I’d rather just observe myself. But the rubber meets the road when I not only notice, not only observe. It meets the road when I decide to do something to change. When I decide to work on my negative qualities. To pay attention when they arise. And to make the effort to diminish them.
So thank you, Donald Trump.
You’re helping me on my path of self-awareness and growth.
Who would have thought that possible??
I’ll slightly modify this quote from Trump to serve as my conclusion.
“As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think big.”
For me, it is: “As long as I’m going to be changing anyway, change big.”
Thank you, Donald Trump. Here’s to big change!