I have been having a hard time dealing with the world lately. It feels like everywhere I turn there is some incident that creates an upheaval from the seemingly unnecessary (Starbucks cups) to the truly tragic (the Paris attacks, the Mormon church's announcement on policy regarding children of same sex couples.)
When I was in middle school, I had to stop watching the news because I saw a story that emotionally traumatized me. I have tried to "be a good citizen" and stay informed off and on since then, but it gets so overwhelming. And now, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google +, Youtube and all the others putting even more out there all the time, I feel like I cannot turn it off.
And social media adds a whole new edge, because you aren't just getting one perspective. You see every single persons's opinion, links to other news articles, blog posts, memes, and everything out there!
I grew up LDS, left the Mormon church for my own personal reasons, and went on to study many other religions. One thing that I have found universal in religions is the teaching of loving others. Another thing I have found almost universal is separating yourselves from others. I have noticed (because as a writer, I am prone to observing the human condition.) that any time there is an us vs them situation people tend to separate using hate.
And what does that get us? More hate. Whether the separation is racial, religious, political, national, or based on gender- people tend to use hate to keep from blurring the line.
And I don't understand that, when every religion teaches love.
But maybe every religion teaches the importance of love because it is not something that comes naturally to most humans. I know that seems contrary since we are all obsessed with it, but as I watch human behavior, even the most obvious love for a child tends to go out the window when that person takes the side of Them, our love for them gets put aside as we defend our US view.
It is easy to love those who are like you. But not so much for those who aren't.
I would challenge each of you to find your Us vs Them thing. We all have at least one. I am choosing one that is affecting my family right now.
Take some time to walk in the shoes of your Them. Don't just look at them through your lens, but try to understand their lens. See their troubles, struggles, hopes, dreams, fears. Talk with them and really listen to them. Build a relationship. Practice loving them.
Does anyone else think that we can use this to combat all the negativity?