I feel very disturbed and saddened at the growing level of hatred and intolerance. Lately it seems to be exploding everywhere and in every corner of life around me; friends, family and strangers. Intolerance to anyone not like “self” seems to be an ever increasing trend, and the ability for people to post comments on social media appears to be fueling the frenzy. Intolerance to refugees and immigrants, to those of different race, sexual or gender orientation, to anyone whose appearance is different and, more recently, to both vaxxers and anti-vaxxers depending on which side the person posting is aligned with and, from my perspective, neither side innocent or more tolerant than the other.
When my timeline is filled with posts belittling others’ intelligence because they think differently or have different beliefs to the person posting; or stating that we should be shipping people off to some form of “camp” where they can infect each other, starve and die; or that we should be denying basic rights to the “other” because of some difference – language, race, belief, orientation, etc., I feel deeply disturbed. When it is considered ok to block healthcare workers from getting to work, or make those trying to access the healthcare they need, walk through a crowd of people yelling at them; or feeling it is ok to protest in and outside our schools leaving children locked down in classrooms, I feel deeply disturbed. When it is ok to physically beat up anyone or yell obscenities at them because they come from any culture that is different, I feel deeply disturbed. Have we learned nothing from history? Has some war been declared that I am not aware of? Where has compassion, caring for our fellow man and treating others as we want to be treated gone?
I shake my head and have sunk to levels of despair I have seldom felt as I read the comments and posts and see the hostility around me. And I have struggled with what I, as an individual, can do to move humanity past this and into the world I dream about, where love and compassion are shown to each other all the time irrespective of what differences we perceive in each other.
And the realisation for me has been that I can only change myself, check in with myself and examine where I may be exhibiting intolerance, discover where my fears lie and address them. And subsequently make every effort to be as loving, compassionate, caring and understanding as I possibly can be.
I can choose to accept someone else’s vieszpoint without agreeing with it, and aim to try and understand what life is like in their shoes. I can choose to respond in love instead of fear, which I believe is at the core of all of this hatred and intolerance. I can only focus on myself and try to show others a better way of treating everyone else. And if by these actions I can inspire just one other person to face and let go of their fears, to move beyond a rigid position they may hold, and view those around them not as an enemy or someone to be feared, but as a fellow human being with their own fears, hopes and dreams, then that is enough. If I can keep shining my light, I believe others will join me and shine theirs too.
I invite you to join me in dreaming of, designing and creating a better world. One in which love, compassion, acceptance and understanding are at the forefront.
With love always,