Let me start off by saying; I’m a sookie sickie bum today with an extremely runny nose and quite an intense case of the “I wish my girlfriend was here to cuddle me” sickness.
I’m also a Cancerian and anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I – no matter how hard the outer shell may appear – am a complete and utter smush ball inside.
A person who’s feelings and emotions can often get the better of her; a sometimes scary but super necessary part of being human.
With that being said, I’m feeling #triggered and here’s why.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know Australia is currently buzzing with the possibility of change.
Marriage equality has been the topic of most conversations that I’ve overheard and been a part of, it’s on every street corner and every channel.
With the campaign in full swing and families, hearts, lives and pride on the line; I can’t help but notice the sheer amount of hatred and hostility being shown to either side.
I’ve seen some horrific and heartbreaking things being shared, ‘liked’ and commented on. Disgusting and ignorant statements from people who are clearly passionate but severely mistaken about how to have compassionate and impactful conversations to outline their opinions and to share their views.
It’s not just Marriage Equality bringing out the worst in us though.
It’s the way we communicate with strangers, the way we rush by people who cleary need a helping hand and the things we share and tag each other in online.
The carelessness that exists when using language to describe events, people and moments that can cause real hurt to those you are dismissing.
To me, one of the wonders of being human and co-existing with people of all walks of life is the opportunity to look outside yourself and learn something.
If you don’t understand something and are genuinely open to learning, ask considerate and open questions.
Don’t dismiss the other persons answer and engage with kindness – they’re often sharing something that makes them feel vulnerable and open; that should be welcomed with compassion and understanding.
I might just be one person and as always; I don’t think I have it all figured out BUT there has to be a better way than how we are currently navigating our differences.
I’m certainly not naive enough to believe we’re all going to get along all the time but surely we could attempt to be better, right?
Or is it really impossible for us to be kinder, more empathetic and less self serving when it comes to communication?
Call me a dreamer but taking the opportunity to actually hear other points of view without feeling so attacked while also being heard is actually a thing.
So, I refuse to believe that this feeling I have when interacting with people who think and feel differently to me is ‘just how it is’.
No one should walk and talk in fear of their views or who they are being up for constant ridicule and belittling.
Now, I haven’t always thought this way or acted with compassion in the very early days of my connection to this particular debate but I have learned a valuable lesson since then.
Nothing is to be expected other than hatred when you act and interact with rage. You can however be compassionate in the face of all versions of hate filled vitriol. You can remain thoughtful when voicing your views and contributing to discussion with those whose opinions are in direct opposition to yours.
At the moment, all we’re doing is shouting from either side and it may feel freeing in the moment but it is not productive. Like, at all.
How can it be, when the only people listening are those who already agree with you.
If we really want to create change, we need to speak to peoples hearts. Open yourself up to be vulnerable enough to be truly heard.
Who knows just how much of an opportunity it is to learn more about yourself and others.
Now, this isn’t just about equality. The exact same can be said for every single conversation you’re having with someone who holds an opposing opinion to you.
If living a compassionate life and navigating the world from a place of light, love and understanding seems a bit wishy washy to you, I’d suggest opening your mind and giving yourself the freedom to discover something outside yourself.
Holding onto judgment, resentment and hurt only harbours hatred and I don’t know about you, but I have absolutely no time or space for that in my life.
So, what can you do to?
- Enter every conversation with an open mind and actually listen to the person taking the time to talk to you; you’re expecting the same in return after all.
- Don’t allow other people to determine the worth or validity of your opinion; know and trust yourself while understanding they are doing the same thing.
- Take every opportunity as a teaching/learning moment without being condecending, righteous or holier than thou.
- Act and react with kindness. Always.
That’s literally it. Basically don’t be an asshole. Who would have thought it could be so simple?