Holy guacamole you guys! The past couple of weeks have been troubling to say the least. Every time I opened social media especially Facebook I was saddened or angered or frustrated. It was difficult to see so much hatred. It made me feel quite helpless BUT it also meant a lot of prayer. Prayer for our world and the people in it. I do not know why voicing an opinion in a non threatening and respectful way isn’t a thing. I don’t know why condescension is more common than understanding. To be honest I wanted to dismiss the things I saw and the people I disagreed with. It has always been easier for me to put people in boxes with neat labels scribbled on them. I like to engage with people knowing what to expect and labels are an easy way of doing that.
The problems with labels though is that they are very simple and narrow. Like stereotypes labels are shortcuts that make it easier for us to understand our world. The negative aspect though is that we don’t get to see the complex and nuanced aspects of the personalities and characteristics of people. It is hard to love a box labeled racist or bigot! I have yet to see any positive impact made through being condescending, hateful and derogatory. I am tired of a culture that finds it necessary to pick apart people instead of building them up. No! Not for me. I am an optimist. I believe in change and in good people. I believe that everyone is redeemable. So when I find it hard to say anything nice or constructive I do not speak and I sure as hell don’t comment on social media. When I find it hard to see another person’s perspective I listen and I research. I believe in edification and in the good that comes from constructive discourse. So I refuse to engage in anything that is not. I also refuse to believe in a rhetoric that paints humans as evil. I know way too many good people to do that.
Last Saturday I got a chance to meet a few cool people and hear from awesome speakers at a conference hosted by the humanitarian alliance at my school. It was fantastic to hear about charities started by 16 year olds and hear from various non profits about issues from human trafficking to health. It was encouraging to see so many young people interested in our planet and the people in it. It was especially encouraging after a very long and emotional election season in the US. It gave me hope for the future. That people are not as horrible as the Facebook comment section would lead you to believe. I left feeling inspired but also believing that there are a lot more good people than bad. That love will win. That hope is beautiful and should be cultivated. Justice and change start with how you act in your everyday life. You don’t need to wait until you are a badass international human rights lawyer or the president of a non profit. No babe it starts with holding the door open when you see someone struggling, writing thank you notes and helping your mom out with a chore. Love wins when you choose to act with love everyday instead of being apathetic or even worse being a hater. And tbh life is more rewarding that way!