I rarely venture out into politics with these newsletters, for obvious (and not-so-obvious) reasons. Obviously, this is not the proper platform for it. Not-So-Obviously, I just don’t believe that engaging in political discussion online does anything but cause people to simplify their opinion of you to a goofy bumper-sticker slogan. This idea that someone is one thing and one thing only is a convenient, but really lame way to go through life believing.
Recent events have caused me to look a great deal inward. Truly, the “What are you all about, and what do you stand for?” type of looking inward. I’m all about the individual. I don’t believe in the collective. I believe people are smart, good and caring if you give them a chance to be. I believe a society is defined by how it treats its most vulnerable. I believe you can overcome ANY prejudice you may have inherited or developed on your own, simply by allowing yourself to get to know the individual. That said, we can also get too hung up on the concept of “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Guess what? You’re ALWAYS making an impression, like it or not.
I’ve always been really fascinated by the concept of life and its experiences being a “marketplace of ideas”. Ideas, not ideals. I’ve always (well, mostly) enjoyed hearing people’s perspectives and ideas on what they believe. I’m a good listener. I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by some incredible people from VASTLY different walks of life in my 51 years on this earth. One thing that is also true about me is that I have worked very hard since my adolescent years to overcome my tendency to assign value to people before I know what they are all about (It doesn’t help that I’m incredibly protective of family and friends). To me, there is nothing more life-affirming than seeing people pursuing their passions. I loathe seeing people suffer.
OK, get to the point…
One of the most difficult things to do in life is to challenge yourself. Eat better. Get more exercise. That kind of thing. Allow uncomfortable ideas in your headspace. That’s a tough one. People are not always good at this. I used to think people were just closed-minded, but the more I thought about it as an adult, I realized that people don’t spend a lot of energy communicating well. There is much to learn about the world if you challenge yourself, particularly with the hard stuff. If you trust the news or (god forbid) facebook to populate your head with the big stuff, you’ll only feel more isolated in your life. Go out and talk to people. They don’t talk to you like they do on Facebook. There is so much good in the world.
Go find it.