Do Your Part
Most of us are very eager to put the year 2020 behind us. The global pandemic has brought so much uncertainty along with worries and fears about the future we never imagined we would experience. In the midst of quarantines and the nationwide shutdown, protests began as our modern-day civil rights movement continues. As political chaos intensifies, we’ve seen and heard things on the news and social media that are hard to believe. Many agonize about how divided we are. It seems like there is a very demarcated right and left side when it comes to every social issue—from mask-wearing to civil rights to the Presidential race.
Are we living a movie plot, or is this real life? If you find yourself feeling confused, angry, sad, or hopeless as you look around at everything that’s going on—beware. You could be at risk of being consumed by this social vortex that’s all around us.
The social vortex is a mental space that people get stuck in where chaos and uncertainty trigger various reactions—like fear—which, in turn, can cause defensiveness and a need to protect themselves. They feel a need to affiliate only with like-minded people and reject those who think differently than they do. In this state, people do things and behave in ways they typically wouldn’t, but they may feel justified in acting out because of the desperate need to feel safe. When you see people spewing hatred in all forms, this is often the dynamic that’s going on internally and emotionally. They are stuck in the vortex and don’t know how to get out.
Regardless of who you voted for or what ‘side’ we choose to be on when it comes to our beliefs and opinions, neither side gives a free pass that justifies joining in the chaos, division, and negativity. No one is exempt from the duty; we all must do our part.
If you’re confused as to how you can do your part, rest assured that you should be. We’ve heard many problems this year, but actual solutions that we all have at hand are not mentioned nearly as often.
Some of these very accessible solutions include:
Showing patience, love, and acceptance to others.
Challenging ourselves to be kind and non-judgmental towards people and groups who might think very differently than we do.
Understanding the beliefs of others, even if we disagree, and despite how bizarre those beliefs might seem to us.
Showing empathy for the life experiences of other people that may have led them to think or behave the way they do.
Listening. Listening is so powerful and so underutilized lately, as we all want to express our opinions more than we want to open our minds to new perspectives. Some people feel very threatened by merely hearing an opposing opinion or belief, but we must recognize this is a reaction that shows a lack of security in oneself.
Having uncomfortable conversations with our neighbor but doing so with self-awareness and committing to not seeing our neighbor any differently merely because of their beliefs.
Doing our part is how we move the world forward with compassion and love. So, let’s recognize and observe the negativity but refuse to take any part in contributing to it.