As I thought of thought-provoking issues to write about that we can have an impact on changing, I couldn’t help but think about the recent bombing in Manchester. I thought about what could be done to stop such things from happening. It seems like something that can’t be prevented, something that’s beyond our control. I couldn’t help but think that if we all made an effort to be more understanding, more compassionate, and tolerant, things would change. Of course, it wouldn’t happen overnight, but over time surely.
There’s a serious disconnect in the world in an age that prides itself on connection. We’re able to travel farther and faster than ever, news is able to reach all areas, and we can check in on people without even talking to them.
As a society, we boast of “connection” yet there’s an epidemic of disconnect.
The symptoms present themselves as intolerance, ignorance, and divison. People aren’t born with this condition but can be infected at a young age through exposure to infected individuals and contaminated environments. It spreads quickly through indifference and silence. It’s a chronic condition that can be treated through:
- exposure to uninfected individuals over long periods of time
- conversations with people who aren’t like you and looking for commonalities
- traveling to places that don’t speak your language and experiencing their culture
- getting to know those who cross paths with you who don’t look like you
If we all chose to find what we have in common, we’d realize the differences are very small and many just aren’t important at all. If we all sought the beauty in our differences and chose to celebrate them, we’d see them as rare and precious. If our perspective changed from “us versus them” to one of a human ecosystem, we’d realize that we all need each other. What would the world be like without the imports and exports between nations? What would the world look like without the inspirations and influences across borders? What would life be like without diversity? We wouldn’t have the music, movies, food, accents, inventions, or technology of today without the contributions of incredibly talented people from all walks of life and origins. It’s through this diversity of thought, culture, customs, expression, and perspective that incredible things are inspired and created.
So instead of focusing on appearances we cannot change, accents that indicate another language is spoken and allowing personal beliefs to inflict harm, can we come together and value what we can each contribute to the world? Can we appreciate the gifts that every individual has to offer? Can we shift the perspective of society so that morals, values, and character are of greater importance and accurate indicators of who someone is? We can’t fight hate with hate. We can’t cure ignorance with silence. We can’t sustain our human ecosystem with division. We can’t continue at this pace because at this rate, who will be left? Who will be safe?
The antidote to hate is each one of us. The interactions we have, the jokes we laugh at, the situations we witness, the actions we take, the words we speak, and the ones we don’t. It’s seeking to see things from another’s point of view. It’s looking at people without the stereotypical preconceived notions. It’s extending the same common courtesy you’d want someone to show you. It’s speaking up even if you’re the only one. It’s standing up for injustice even when it doesn’t affect you. It’s keeping in mind we’re teaching those that come after us through our actions. It’s understanding history is being made each day and being conscious of what we want it to reflect. It’s treating strangers like friends, and friends like family. It’s going back to the basics and remembering to be kind above all, compassionate without measure, and having the tolerance to respect others even if you don’t accept their ways as your own. We all have the right to live peaceful lives and as I go to bed tonight, I’ll dream of a day everyone can experience that right.
My deepest condolences to those who’ve lost their lives fueled by hate and sincerest sympathy to those who live in fear and experience it every day. May we come together to make the world a better place for all.
I know this isn’t my usual style, but it was on my heart so I had to share it. What are your thoughts? Do you agree with the antidote? Will you deliver a dose every time you get the chance?