Reading posts on Facebook and Instagram, it seems that everyone’s convinced of their own position and is seeking affirmation of their point of view.
There’s a tendency to get snarky when we’re scared, and while there’s plenty to be scared about, if it’s fear that drives us, we’ve lost the game. Anger can be a great motivator and there’s plenty to be angry about too, but it’s only our hearts that will change minds—not simply our words.
We’ve forgotten that everyone has a right to be heard—and we need to hear each other to see the parts of ourselves we’re blind to, otherwise we’re all just shouting into an echo chamber.
I’ll be honest, I don’t like judging anyone, even when I’m baffled by their ideas or have a concern they could be causing harm. There’s always more than we can see with our eyes.
When we’re young, we see ourselves through the eyes of the people around us. As a kid, I was the one who saw the world differently. I didn’t know who I was, and I felt judged and shamed for being myself. By the time I left home, I had unknowingly internalized the voices of disapproval—they were always with me in the background of every conversation, undermining my confidence and self-esteem.
Sometimes I think my anger has been traumatized out of me, but I can tell you, I’m tired. I’m tired of reading all the mean-spirited bullsh*t. I’m tired of feeling like there’s really no point in posting anything. There’s so much f*cking noise in my newsfeed I don’t want to add to it.
I’ve been blessed with some wonderful friends. I’ve come to like and respect many of them solely from their posts on social media. Some I’ve met face-to-face only over Zoom. Others, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in real life. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I can connect with people anywhere in the world with no more effort than it takes to schedule an appointment and show up.
That we humans are interconnected like the synapses of a brain—albeit a large, unwieldy, confused brain—is such a beautiful, poetic thing.
My question is, “What are we doing with that capacity?”
Are we using our capabilities in a way that respects them, or are we frittering them away on cheap entertainment, while greater and greater numbers are suffering, and many live in fear of losing something they hold dear, whether a person, a right, or their life?
Are our capabilities being used against us? Are they doing more harm than good?
Perhaps we are complicit in our own brainwashing. Read enough contradictory information and one could start doubting their own name.
While we were busy carping at one another over our stance on vaccines, a woman’s right to have a legal abortion after six weeks of pregnancy was taken away in Texas.
We’re not the enemy and we can do better.
Here’s a simple experiment that can effectively shift your consciousness away from fear and closer to recognition of the self in others:
The next time you’re in conversation with someone, instead of seeing them as a separate being, imagine you’re speaking with a part of yourself. Rather than keeping it an abstract notion, experience that person as a part of you who has something to communicate to you. Listen for whatever message they have for you.
Imagine they are an external expression of a part of yourself that your body can’t contain, yet wants to be acknowledged as part of a single cell of which you (and everyone else) are a part. And extend that awareness to everyone around you, whether or not they are aware of your presence.
Now extend it even further to include the people you read or hear about in the news, as well as those who are out in the world outside of your conscious awareness. And know they are all a part of you too.