THE COUNSELOR'S CORNER: Finding peace in a world of tension

By Fred Cavaiani

The narcissism of Donald Trump scares me. The integrity chart of Hilary Clinton doesn't inspire me. How did these two candidates get so far in this country of the Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free? Donald Trump has no compassion for anyone except for himself and his own self interests. Whenever questioned or disagreed with, he attacks the character and integrity of the other person and this is called being "real?" Hilary Clinton has a difficulty in getting people to believe in her honesty and integrity. She seems surrounded by doubt and political opportunism but not by consistent integrity. She seems to be whatever the going trend wants her to be. So for the highest office in the land we have a supreme narcissist being supported by the Republican Party and a political opportunist with many shades of doubt regarding her character supported by the Democratic Party. How has it come to this? These are the two candidates we put forward to represent the United States of America! This is all we can do. I think we are all in trouble if either one gets elected.

These above thoughts are not uncommon thoughts today. Both candidates have a likeability problem. Most people think that Donald Trump is not trustworthy and doesn't understand the needs of the average person (67%). Many people also feel unfavorable toward Hilary Clinton (52%) especially in wondering who she really is in being real and trustworthy and understanding the needs of the average person. In the last election, President Obama beat Mitt Romney 81% to 18% as someone who really cares about people. Neither candidate today comes close to that in how they care about people. And neither candidate has a very high rating for being someone who is trustworthy and honest.

Probably the two best candidates in the realm of being trustworthy and honest were John Kasich for the Republicans and Bernie Sanders for the Democrats. So why is it that we have two candidates who rate low in this area? Why have we not chosen candidates who rate high in honesty and integrity? Maybe the problem is not with the candidates, the media, or the political parties, the Pac money coming from huge companies to each party, senators and congress. Maybe the problem is with us and our culture.

We live in a world filled with tension. Isis, North Korea, the Middle East, China, Russia, and many other countries become occasions of tension. There seems to always be some fire of armed conflict that needs to be extinguished. We then wait in quiet anxiety for when the next terror attack might happen or the next global catastrophe might happen. We think the solution is in having more military might, more sophisticated weapons and bombs. We actually believe that people will be influenced to do positive things by our immense show of strength. We think that by having guns we will be safe or at least feel safe. We implore our 2nd amendment rights to bear arms in a world filled with addiction and impulsivity, and we are about to elect a supreme narcissist to the highest office of the land who will have the power to make decisions for the benefit or destruction of the nation or we could elect a person to the highest office of the land who so many people just don't like or trust and who will also have the power to make decisions for the benefit or destruction of this nation.

A person's character is determined by what they do in a crisis and how calm and prudently they relate to other people in a crisis. A good leader is reflective, compassionate and willing to learn from others. A good leader doesn't make statements unless they have absolute facts. Have you noticed this in any of our candidates?

We are in a world of tension. How do you deal with this? We have just celebrated the Fourth of July, 2016, our Independence Day. Our founders gave us a country and constitution, "one nation, indivisible, under God to help us pursue life and liberty and happiness." Our founders didn't say we had to belong to a religion but they did acknowledge that there was Someone or Something much bigger than us.

I think our country and our world will only survive if we can learn to become quiet and prayerful and open our hearts and minds to a Divine Power that is greater than ourselves, our government, our president, our country. We need a lot of silence to listen in order to find the wisdom and compassion that each of us needs so badly.

Take one hour a day to become quiet. Learn to be silent during this hour. I guarantee you that you will discover a peace within yourself and a compassion within yourself that will make your corner of the world a very loving and peaceful place.

Two weeks ago I presented a program for the day at Capuchin Retreat in Washington, Michigan called "Experiencing God in the Present Moment." It was a program on learning how to meditate and contemplate and journey through life slowly and reflectively. It was a powerful program. We slowed down. We looked deeper. We practiced how to experience God in the present moment. We left the day relaxed and energized. It was a day to find peace in a world filled with tension. It is not what is happening in the Republican Party or the Democratic Party that is the main problem. It is what is happening in my own personal life and what am I doing about it. Become reflective in your personal life. You will become compassionate and peaceful. Find a loving God in your life and immerse yourself in this Divine Presence. You will have a powerful impact on the world.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage & family therapist and psychotherapist 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. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. He is also on staff at Capuchin Retreat Center in Washington, MI. His column in the Legal News runs every other weel. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is

Published: Wed, Jul 06, 2016