I began writing this about a month ago, but a heavy work load led to zero time for completion of my post. I realize that what I started is even more relevant now than it was then.
Here is what I started (with incomplete thoughts included, which I hope gives you better context):
I typically write about sustainability, gardening, and design in a way that I hope is positive and encouraging, as opposed to critical and disheartening. Much of the need for me to express myself this way has to do with a belief that the society I live in seems to, for some time now, distract itself with a lot of nonsensical shaming, people tearing each other down, and a general discontent with people who aren’t just like them. I want to see us relearn how to respect each other, find empathy for one another, and remember what compassion is. You know, positive things.
I won’t go into every last detail of the news this week, but it has been focused largely on a certain Stanford student who received what many perceive as a light sentence for committing rape. Additionally, very early this morning there was (another) mass shooting, this time in Orlando, FL, at a LGBT nightclub. While seeming like very different crimes, at the core of both is someone who forgot to respect another human being in a really big way. The victims, who did nothing wrong, were just trying to live their lives. The terrorists (really both of them could be called this) forgetting that their victims are human, too, with feelings of their own, which are equally as important as theirs.
While it can sometimes be hard to find the optimism in situations like these, it’s encouraging to see
Joe Biden wrote a letter in response to the survivor of the Stanford rape case, whose letter was released anonymously earlier this week. http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/stevens/ct-biden-letter-to-rape-survivor-balancing-0610-20160610-story.html
“We are apologizing for the whole incident. We weren’t aware of any action he is taking, we are in shock like the whole country. This had nothing to do with religion,” the gunman’s father, Mir Seddique, said. http://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2016/06/12/pulse-shooters-father-this-had-nothing-to-do-with-religion
After reviewing my draft, I have some expansions to my original thoughts.
There are plenty of good people in the world who aren’t afraid to do the right thing. They embody Compassion.
Sometimes people with power and authority are better at listening and understanding than we think. We need to remember to listen back, especially when they have encouraging words to share. We need to show people Respect.
We may not know exactly why people do the terrible things they do. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/06/orlando-mass-shooter-social-media-copycat-motive. Remember that their friends and families are often just as confused as we are. Also, they often have to bear the weight of apologizing for actions they were not a part of. We need to show them Empathy.
I want to see us relearn how to respect each other, find empathy for one another, and remember what compassion is. You know, positive things.
I know it has only been about a month following the above events, but seething hatred and disrespect is still causing horrific events. Why are we so afraid of each other’s differences? I think the world would be a pretty boring place if we were all exactly the same. We need to learn about our differences and understand each other. We may not agree with everything. That is okay. That is human. But, we can still get along and lift each other up. Have you ever noticed that young kids will play with whatever kids are nearby? Have you noticed that skin color, ethnicity, gender, and religious affiliation (or none) means nothing to them? They may notice it, but they look past it, and play. They live. These beautiful differences are taught to be a “problem” instead of a diversity. Let’s recognize our variety. Let’s empower each other to share our differences. Let’s not become fixated on the differences being a negative. Let’s live.
I promise to keep being a compassionate, respectful, and empathetic being. I hope you will, too. Positivity is just as contagious as hate. Let’s tip the scales.