It feels like hate is winning.
I can barely scroll through my newsfeed without seeing articles about people so driven by hate and anger they’re firing on people in public places with weapons designed to do the most damage possible.
Laws are being passed, criminalizing health care decisions that should be private matters between individuals and professionals who have invested years of their lives and resources in helping people decide the best treatment for their wellbeing.
Civil rights are being ripped away before our eyes, Politicians dictating how people live, banning books, and censoring self-expression, based on their moral constructs rather than the unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness from the Declaration of Independence that our government was founded on.
It all feels like TOO MUCH.
It’s hard not to feel deeply distressed from all the despair we can empathetically feel swirling around the world, even when what’s happening is not in our backyard. And it’s exhausting. It’s hard to know what to do to make it go away.
The temptation to scroll past shocking stories is strong, but ignoring what is happening won’t improve things. In fact, it will make things worse. We’re all in danger of numbing ourselves to these outward manifestations of hate. It’s no wonder we are amid a mental health crisis. Anxiety and depression are very real consequences of living under constant pressure.
But I have hope.
During doom scrolling, I also see people standing up to oppression worldwide, tyrants being ousted from office, and justice for people who believed they were above the laws of state, morality, and decency.
I understand from studying world history and science that everything in the Universe eventually moves toward stability - the Law of Equilibrium. When the pendulum swings too far in one direction, the reaction to the chaos of the extreme is to push things back toward the middle, even if it takes a revolution.
In history, every time the ruling class goes too far, suppressing the rights of people so they don’t have autonomy over their lives or greedily take too much for themselves while starving their constituents, people fight back. That’s exactly what caused the American Revolution and why unalienable rights were so much on the mind of our founders when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. In forming our democratic republic, these visionaries created a system designed to represent the will of the majority of people being ruled, not the rich and powerful.
We are not powerless.
Bullies rely on their victims, being too afraid to stand up and wanting them to feel powerless so they can do anything. Unless we’re the ones being picked on, the natural survival reaction is to ignore the situation. But for change to happen, we all need to say, “No more!” and take a united stand to stop the bullying.
While it may not always feel like it, there are simple actions we can take to push back the nastiness we’re experiencing to help bring the world back to equilibrium. We can be a light in the face of hatred.
Spread the love.
The best way to be that light is to let your love shine. Recognizing there are other people in the world is a good start. I like to smile at people as I pass them and say hello, let people in front of me in traffic, act friendly toward everyone, and take notice of people who feel invisible. I try to be a safe person, opening my heart with unconditional love in my interactions with others.
One way to show our glow is through random acts of kindness. These acts don’t have to be over-the-top or take a lot of time. But they should be something that actually helps or impacts another person, not just the next random person in line. Many people we’re close to and see every day can use a random act just as much as a stranger.
Know your strengths.
Building our strengths is much more powerful than worrying about our weaknesses. I found a fantastic resource online to find your character strengths through a scientific survey. You have to create an account, but it’s worth it for this interesting introspection.
Knowing your strengths will help you determine how to use your unique characteristics to illuminate your path and fully activate all your goodness to make an impact in the world for yourself and others.
Expand your worldview.
I love bringing people together to talk about the hard stuff that no one likes to talk about, like the monthly panel discussions with the Badass Women of Wichita Alliance. Having the chance to ask real people any question and hear what they think expands our worldview and increases empathy as we learn what happens beyond our own bubble. It is such a gift from our panelists. I’m looking forward to the discussion on Monday at the Pronouns panel.
There are many other ways to broaden our horizons beyond coming to Badass Women events. We gain so much understanding of cultures and people by looking at the stories they tell about themselves through written words, art, film, self-expression, the objects they value, and even the food they love. When examining our actual differences, we find that we’re more similar than we think. Most people are decent, have good intentions, and are just doing their best to survive.
Be an ally.
Be a ray of unconditional love to friends, family members, and people in our community that are being targeted with hate. Understanding that people and language evolve and honoring how people define themselves is a powerful sign of respect and acceptance, even when it’s hard to wrap our heads around. How people define themselves and expect others to recognize and respect their identity is one of the most essential boundaries we set and build our lives around.
Speak to the truth.
I don’t understand why lying has become socially acceptable. I remember when people lost public positions when they showed they couldn’t be trusted to tell the truth. Exaggerations and misunderstandings are one thing, but knowingly manipulating the facts is an ethical issue. No matter how often a lie is told, it doesn’t magically become the truth. It’s still a lie.
Doing research beyond one news source, sifting fact from fiction, is a way to illuminate the face of hatred. When we pass along clickbait designed to create a strong emotional response, the lies spread. Check into what candidates stand for, rather than voting a straight party ticket and then vote in every single election.
Take care of yourself.
Remember to shine some love on yourself too. Limit your access to information that makes your blood boil and take time to decompress. We can’t ignore what’s going on, but every day can’t be spent in battle either. Set some boundaries for yourself on how much time and energy you spend shining your light on others. Have a plan for taking action, and include having some glow left for yourself so it doesn’t dim when you need it most.
Feeling like hate is winning is frustrating, confusing, and a daily punch to the gut. It’s hard to understand how people can be so cruel and selfish. It’s hard to know what to do. But feeling powerless, hiding away, and wishing for things to be different won’t bring us back to equilibrium.
It may not seem like much - a lone, tiny sliver of light we each shine into the darkness. But when we come together in love, that tiny beam becomes a beacon, illuminating the path to guide others and bringing us closer to equilibrium.
What will you do to be that light?
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