The Counselor’s Corner


This past week the nation has been traumatized by the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. White nationalists, neo Nazis and members of Klu Klux Klan marched and protested violently about a statue of Robert E. Lee being taken down.  It wasn’t the march that was bad.  Anyone is entitled to march. But it was the words and actions used that caused the problems.  Racist remarks, marching while carrying guns, driving a car into a crowded area of anti-protestors, and condemning others who believe in equality for all races and religions: this is what is disturbing.  

Each of us can be violent in our thoughts.  We can internally judge and condemn those who see things differently than us.  When these violent thoughts become actions and trample upon other people then we as individuals and our country as a nation is in serious trouble.  Violent actions need to be pointed out and what need to be pointed out are violent attitudes. 

It is a violent attitude to do nothing when one race or religion is being condemned by actions and violent attitudes.  This happened in every century since the beginning of Judaism, the beginning of Christianity and the beginning of the Islamism.  It seems that no amount of education or civilization can eliminate prejudice and bigotry. 

Violent and judgmental attitudes never promote peace. They promote slavery, domination and conflict.  When you invest in violent attitudes toward other people and violent words and maybe actions, has this ever made you feel peaceful and loved and uplifted?  
When leaders of any country engage in violent and condemning words, condemning words about others, does that promote good will?  When we do this personally about anyone, does that create an inner harmony within yourself that you want to give to others?
I would like to be angry at President Trump for not speaking out directly against the White Nationalists and the Klu Klux Klan for their violent words and actions in Charlottesville, Virginia.  But then I would be just continuing an internal violent attitude.  What I should be doing is promoting a peaceful and compassionate attitude toward everyone I meet this day. What I should also be doing is having compassion for those who are the recipients of violent attitudes and behavior. I need to consistently confront my own violent attitudes.
Peace in the world will only come through loving and compassionate actions.  There have not been many loving and compassionate actions shown in government lately.  So what!  This will always be with us in some way, but I do not need to continue what I see in our leaders and what I see on television.  Criticisms, judgments, corrections, second guessing, and concrete violent actions like in Virginia and many other places throughout the world.

How can I change all of this?  Well, I cannot change the government and our leaders at this very moment. But what I can change is my own violent attitudes. I can be more loving, peaceful and compassionate in thoughts and actions towards others. I do not have to invest in negativity or criticism of others.  I can invest in positive attitudes and kind words towards others. I can invest in deepening my own spirituality.  I can invest in a better awareness that violence never helps anyone.  I can invest in remembering that angry people never seem to be peaceful or happy.  When I have been angry and critical it has never seemed like a happy time for me.

This whole trauma in Virginia has jolted me into realizing that I must remain peaceful, loving and compassionate.  I must speak the truth but always in a loving way.
A good friend of mine just died.  He had written 17 books. He had confronted many people and many institutions over the years to have more compassion for the poor. All his life this man spoke the truth. The last ten years of his life he learned to speak the truth with much love and compassion towards everyone.  He died very peaceful and receptive.  His ability to speak the truth with love has inspired me deeply and taught me that Love must always be first in every action of life.  As much as I would like to be condemning and critical of what I see around me, I am inspired and motivated to realize that the only thing that matters is to bring love and compassion to everyone.  The world changes for the better when there is much Love to go around.  And it all starts with you and with me.  It may not make the news but it will positively influence the people you meet this day. 

Fred Cavaiani is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. Fred serves on the Oakland County Senior Advisory Council. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340.  His e-mail address is: and his website is