Think of your last interaction with another human being. Hopefully it’s not too hard to remember.
Did you yell or raise your voice?
Did you speak your opinions too loudly?
Did you feel bad for what you said or how you said it?
It’s becoming increasingly more common to care more about our own belief about something than about the precious people around us. It can be really painful whether we’re dishing it out or taking it.
The Internet gets an opinion in every brain and the trigger of the keyboard at our fingertips.
It’s really easy to objectify someone when they’re not right in front of you.
But when they are right in front of you it gets a little harder.
That is until the effects of an Internet-centered lifestyle pervade the mind. This makes it easier to speak our opinions so loud that we hurt one another.
We can all easily recall a moment of indignation we felt over some way that another person was treating us or one of our “sacred cows” and we snapped back. Politics, religion, social issues, and even what kind of phone you use all seem to suddenly be grounds for deriding another human being.
The truth is that people are more important than opinions.
Being opinionated doesn’t.
Developing our opinions and beliefs is important to know ourselves.
We don’t necessarily have to change those beliefs in order to make the people around us more important than the beliefs themselves. We don’t have to let others walk all over us.
But we do need to be kind.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
This quote is being thrown around quite often these days. The unfortunate thing is that the use of it doesn’t typically include a complete picture of what it really teaches us.
It’s not enough to just not hate.
It’s not enough to just not exude darkness.
We must practice love.
We must practice exuding light.
It’s the hard things in life that are the most meaningful, useful, and needed. In 2018, we need love and light back in the world but they are difficult to practice. Love and light are difficult to measure.
Love and light are practiced when we lower the tone and intensity of our voice when speaking with one another.
Love and light are practiced when we decide to hold our tongue when we know that what we’re about to say will result in an argument.
Love and light are practiced when we choose to ask insightful questions of one another with a sincere interest in each other’s lives.
Love and light are practiced when we listen intently to what another has to say.
Love and light are not about what we’re avoiding that’s bad, namely, hatred and darkness. They are not simply an absence of the bad. They are the presence of what is good in the world. If you really want to help change the world, stop just avoiding what is hateful and dark.
Practice love and light.
Get to know someone new.
Ask a question of a Family member you haven’t talked with in a while. Better yet, ask them for advice on something you know they’re good at.
Listen with the intent to understand when the people you are consistently with begin to share their experiences.
Let’s all make the world a better place by making the people in our lives more important than our own opinions.