If you have regular contact with me in my everyday life- then you know that I decided to take a break from Facebook, outside of my business page obligations. I deleted the app from my phone, the one place where I
spent wasted the most time reading and connecting with people. Leading up to the election, I had a love / hate relationship with Facebook. More accurately, I had a love/ hate relationship with the thoughts that would swirl in my head after reading various Facebook posts from people I care about, many of which I have loved and admired for a majority of my life. It’s not Facebook’s fault, nor is it anyone else’s fault how “I” react to the things I see, but I also knew when I was having emotional reactions to so many things I was reading, from people who really don’t know better- I knew it was time to take a step away.
When I say they don’t know better, I don’t mean they are in any way, shape or form ignorant, uneducated or simple minded. Nothing could be further from the truth. At the same time, so many people seem to be drinking the fear Kool-Aid these days, and had forgotten how to give and show love and compassion to anyone who didn’t fit their ‘norm’ that I went into a deep sadness. In fact, typing this brings tears to my eyes.
There are a LOT of things I see in life that I don’t agree with, but my opinions are based on how I view the world and how I believe. Does it mean because I don’t agree that it’s ‘wrong’? No, not at all. It means it’s different. I try to shine love in all that I do, to walk the talk, but because I’m human, I also sometimes fall short. I dust myself off- forgive myself and move forward.
You know what I struggle with the most? The fact that so many of us have become judge, jury and executioner over the choices of others. We don’t have to agree to show respect. We can agree to disagree and respect each others choices and move on.
I remember when I was in Junior High learning about how as a society the more we are exposed to- the more it becomes the ‘norm’ and the less it matters because we become desensitized to those ‘things’. At the time- I remember understanding it, but having never experienced that desensitization first hand, I didn’t ‘get it’. Now, 30+ years later, I more than get it.
I hear so much about how people are sick of being ‘politically correct’, as if that is somehow a free pass to treat people with disrespect and lack of compassion (see desensitized above). I’m not big on labels, because I feel as though you it’s an effort to decide who or what something or someone is based on something small, and we are much more complex human beings than a label. We grow, we change, we learn (hopefully). I don’t use PC at all, because it isn’t being PC- it’s being respectful of others. Yes, I know that people seem to get offended about everything these days- and I really have no idea why.
So much could be accomplished if we all chose to do one thing that I’m pretty sure we would all agree on. Live your life by the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Why do we complicate it so much?
Want to grow beyond the four walls of your comfort zone? Spend time in the company of someone who has had a very different life than you. You don’t have to ‘get it’, because you won’t. It’s not possible to understand what someone else has gone through when you haven’t had similar experiences, but what you can do is show them compassion. You can see them, you can love them, you can offer them dignity and respect. Most everyone is doing the best that they can with the tools they have at that moment.
It doesn’t mean it will look anything like the life tools you have- after all, your life has been different and therefore you see things through a different lens. Even when someone is being angry, nasty, disrespectful- it’s coming from a place of fear, insecurity, pain. It isn’t about ‘us’- as much as we’d like to think it was. It’s about so much more. Rather than standing in judgment- we should all try to stand in love- in compassion- and in understanding that even though we may have no idea what the person has faced and is facing- that we can still love and respect them where they are. Not encouraging bad behavior, not being reactive, but standing in love, being love.
I wonder how different the world would be if we let go of fear of what is different than us- and embraced love, acceptance, forgiveness?
My challenge to myself this coming holiday season, and also to you- is to give more love. Not to those who receive it daily, but to those you have to make the extra effort to love. See what happens. I’d love to hear about it.