I am sure some of you have been wondering why I haven’t posted anything new to my blog in over a week, but I have been busy doing some introspection, working on some personal growth goals, following some live streams of the protests…and crying. I have shed more tears for a man I’d never met because of the awful way his life ended and the stark realization that not everyone has the same heart as I have. I have read more hateful comments on social media feeds from people all over the world that broke my heart as I read them. But I also read so many more positive, loving words from people spread far and wide, and here is what I have found: we are all hurting, we are all angry, and we are all fed up. MOST importantly, we all want the same basic things – to be happy and to feel safe.
I have spent many hours this past week and a half following a few local live streams of the mostly peaceful protests in Minneapolis (typically when I should have been sleeping). But what I learned from watching those live videos – filmed by members of the community – was that my years of avoiding news media have been worth it, because what I saw happen there at the intersection of 38th and Chicago was breathtakingly beautiful.
The community came together in solidarity on a common goal: to show the world that all lives can’t matter, until the most marginalized populations of humans matter, too. They shared personal accounts of the discrimination they had faced throughout their lives as well as shared their own advice for how we can proceed as a community, as a country, and as all of Earth’s residents.
I admit, I will never know what it is like to belong to a minority group in America, so I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can speak to you from my heart about what I believe this world needs…
I believe we need to be mindful of our words. As much as we like to think of the antiquated saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” as a truth, it simply isn’t. Words are powerful. Words can cut deeper than weapons, for the scars left behind by cruel or unkind words are too often much longer-lasting than the physical scars we’ve received from war injuries, skiing accidents, and bicycle collisions from childhood.
We could all learn a lesson from Thumper’s mother (for those of you who remember Bambi): “if you can’t say nothin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” Unfortunately humans are great at making mistakes, so I’m 100% positive we are all guilty of uttering many unkind words, whether to someone or about someone. We can’t change the past, but we can change the future by making more conscious decisions of slowing our responses, especially if in the moment it is in response to something that enrages us or hurts our feelings. Really think about whether our words will be received well by others or if they will instead turn into weapons – daggers of hate and contempt that may drastically alter the direction of the conversation for the worst. If we stop and think about what we are going to say, we gain an opportunity to choose more loving words and perhaps we will begin to focus more on our similarities than on our differences.
I also believe we need to be more willing to live by the golden rule. Imagine if we all actually followed the one basic principle of every religion – treat others as you wish to be treated! I highly doubt that anyone wants treated like they are worthless or somehow “less than” others, like many minorities in this country feel they have been treated! I doubt anyone really wants to be abused, neglected, humiliated, or ignored, either! So why do we continue to do these things to others, if we ourselves wouldn’t want to be treated in any of those ways?! Actually, why do we treat ourselves in this manner, either??
I believe that true revolution starts from within. Since I have already been making a conscious effort to change the way in which my inner voice speaks to me, it isn’t much effort to utilize the same tactics in the manner in which I speak to others, either. I pray that God helps remind me to remember the golden rule before I speak or act, and to remember why He gave us two ears but only one mouth – we should listen twice as much as we speak. It may have taken me most of my 39 years to learn, but it’s going to make me an even better person to put this into practice every day. It starts with speaking words of kindness to myself…and continues when I spread that kindness to others around me.
I hope you take my words to heart! From one hurting, angry, and fed-up American/Earthling to another, please join me in mindful meditation/prayer to begin treating yourself better – as well as others. Build your self-esteem up and remember that you are enough! Help others to feel worthy and know they too are enough – by treating them as you wish they would treat you, first. Respect is earned, and the only way to receive another’s respect is by showing them your respect first, and always.
I believe if we all took some time to speak kindly to ourselves and others, and listen twice as much as we speak, we could create a world where nobody is judged for the things we cannot control: the color of our skin, our gender, our sexual identity, our nationality, or our disabilities. Perhaps someday soon we’ll all see each other as we are: human beings.
#BlackLivesMatter #BeKind #Humankind