It’s hard for me to find the words to start this post, because I’m not trying to force my opinions on anyone else, I’m just offering a perspective and a piece of the conversation. I also want to preface this by acknowledging that everyone reading this has different experiences and different opinions to offer to the conversation, and that’s totally okay.
I had a few posts ready to go for today, but none of them really felt right. There’s a lot going on in the world and it would be ignorant of me to post a fun workout or a granola recipe and not acknowledge the pain many people are feeling right now. I’m lucky enough to say I don’t always speak from experience, and maybe this platform is my only way of trying to ignite change. I’m one small voice, and writing this post may not be doing much, but my voice matters and so does yours.
I’m not an expert, and I may not have the most experience and may not be the most qualified to speak, but what I see now going on in the news and on social media boils down to a lack of love. Being a human means understanding other perspectives, putting other people first and having an open heart and mind.
But thinking all the way back to March when people were buying 72 packages of toilet paper for themselves, to people ignoring the stay at home orders when they were first put into place, to now people being killed and communities being destroyed, I don’t see humanity anymore. It made me stop and think, where is the love? Why have we become a society rooted in selfishness instead of selflessness?
We have become so preoccupied with looking out for ourselves that at the end of the day, if what’s going on in the world doesn’t directly affect us, we turn a blind eye. We think, as long as I’m okay, that’s what matters.
Without getting too religious or preachy, I want to argue this. Going back through time, no great feat was accomplished alone. No virus was cured alone, no city was built alone, no war was won alone, no issue was combated alone. So why do we think we can live our lives alone, without even batting an eye at offering a helping hand? We put our own masks on first, and then walk away without even thinking of helping someone else.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying to give everything you have and everything you’ve worked for to someone else. But what I am saying is to give some more compassion, give some more empathy, give some more understanding and give some more love. With that I ask, when was the last time someone did something nice for you? And when was the last time you did something to help someone else?
Reflect on that.
If you can’t think of an answer, or the answer is more than a day or two ago, then you should reevaluate who you associate with and how you live your life.
Nelson Mandela once said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
That quote has been floating around social media, but it resonated with me because it brings me back to what I said before – we as a society suffer from a lack of love and an abundance of narcissism. But think about children…kids are pure, and as kids, we accept everything. We as human beings have an innate ability to love, but somewhere along the way, that love and desire to help and create happiness that exists in childhood disappears and is replaced by the problems our society is suffering with now – greed, racism, sexism, violence and more.
Have you ever read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas? It’s about a little boy who lives during the Holocaust, and his father is a Nazi soldier. One day while playing, the boy finds the concentration camp his father works at and encounters another little boy on the other side of the fence, wearing striped pajamas. He comes home and tells his mom that he met a friend who is just like him, they’re both boys of the same age with the same interests and they even look similar, but he is wearing striped pajamas because of how he chooses to spend his worship time. The young boy cannot understand this, because his new friend is “just like him.”
And that’s just it. Everyone on this earth is just like me, and the exceptions shouldn’t and don’t make a difference.
Raising a generation of children now that look up to us, the selfish ones, the ones that turn a blind eye on our brothers and sisters in trouble, will not create the change we need. However, teaching our kids to never lose their love, encouraging our family to help others out and speaking out when we see something wrong, will create that change.
I’m not perfect, I mess up and I can be selfish too. But I’m better than I was yesterday, and I’m striving to be better tomorrow. I’m not turning my back, and I beg you not too either.
Helping others and having a caring heart isn’t about politics, it’s about humanity. Offer to get groceries for your elderly neighbor, reach out to a friend who is having a hard time, speak up when you see someone being mistreated, tell someone you love – regardless of their skin color – that they matter to you. Cities may be opening up now, but our country has a long way to go before it is cured.
Create a chain of action, because if every person adds a link to the chain, if everyone adds a voice to the noise, maybe we will achieve liberty and justice, for all.
Photo c/o Instagram