Who Made You God?
No really, it’s an honest question. I was having a conversation with some friends, and we were discussing the polarity and division that we’ve come to know too well. Extremism has taken over our society, and it seems there just isn’t anyone doing anything right anymore. Regardless of who you are or what you believe, there’s an opposite willing to tear you down. Ruthlessly. We’ve somehow decided that we have every right to call people names, shame them, belittle them, and yet we have all these movements trying to counteract that very behaviour. We are not the judge and jury in every situation. We’re not.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been ready to sign off social media and be done with it. But it’s not just online. It’s in our conversations, it’s in our families, it’s in line at the store, and it’s wearing us down. We’re letting it happen.
As an empath, it’s brutal to encounter and watch unfold. I walk into a room or read a comment and my body tenses. What the what? How are we so unkind? In my mind, if you work in the field of trauma recovery, you can’t go bashing people online. If you’re an anti-bully supporter, you can’t be the bully of the bunch – online, at work, or at home. We have all these movements, and yet it seems our humanity is escaping us.
I keep wondering who we think we are that we get to pass judgment on every other human that doesn’t agree with our way of thinking. I’m not saying we can’t disagree. I’m saying we can disagree and still love on each other, be decent. How did we get here? How did this get to be so big in our world, rather than more loving and inclusive? Part of the answer is because we’re allowing it. Part of it is because we’re just so darn exhausted by it all.
I would be lying if I said it doesn’t get to me. So, in conversation with my friends, we talked about what we are doing to offer something different than what’s happening around us. Tonight, I’ve put together seven thoughts and quotes, including ideas from our conversation.
- Have the discussions (not arguments!). Ask people what they’re doing to keep their minds healthy (or trying to) during this season of our lives. Steer in the direction of kindness, goodness, gentleness.
- It was MLK Jr Day on Monday, and his quote from 50+ years ago still rings true: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
- Ask yourself what kind of light you are providing. A spark is enough, it creates light, if even a glimmer. The flashlight on your phone lights the way, right?!
- “What would love do now?” This question has often been my guide in tough situations. How are we walking through the world? Do people get to experience some semblance of peace in our presence, or are we agitated and content to be so inclined? Are we generating discord, arguing, using destructive language? You know what I mean. I’m not saying be a pushover or let people trample on us. This is not that. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” MLK Jr
- Limit the negative input. I’ve muted some of the accounts that disturb my peace. If you’re being mean, you’re probably on my “muted” list. My friends both said they’ve stopped watching the news. Zig Ziglar has a quote that makes me both smile and think: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” You don’t have to subscribe to – to use the buzzword – toxic positivity, just make a little effort towards it. A little is better than none, especially right now.
- Be present, be the change. I know, it can sound trite or cliché, but it’s what I’ve decided I can do. I can be kind, I can be inspirational, I can add a glimmer of hope here and there. I can. So, I am. Or at least I’m trying to. And it’s not in big, grandiose gestures. It’s in small ways, when my heart and capacity can handle it. What can we do to create serenity rather than stubborn and toxic divides?
- “We must learn to live together as brothers (use terminology that works for you here), or we will perish as fools.” Don’t be a fool.
It’s not easy right now, no matter which way you slice it. Can we please be part of the solution, the helpers, the people who make things lighter, better? Please?