You are part of the problem.

Which means you have the power to be part of the solution.

We all walk around feeling like we have the answers. And we speak to our friends about what’s going on in the world and they reflect back to us our own thoughts. We enclose ourselves into circles of people who look and think like us. People of roughly the same social and economic class. People who work similar jobs and have a similar family structure.

Of course, we do!

It’s human nature to surround ourselves with comforting images, and lives that are really just a reflection of who we are. In fact, we are so used to doing this in today’s online world, that we can literally shut off any viewpoint that doesn’t sit well with our own ego’s thoughts that the world runs and works the way we say it does.

Secretly we are all scared that we have no clue what’s going on, and these structures of thought we build around ourselves keep us safe from seeing from another viewpoint.

We all think we’re open-minded.

That our lives are diverse for one reason or another but do you ever catch yourself saying, “people are stupid”?

A term that has always sat awkwardly in my mind.

The very essence of this statement is saying that you, in fact, are stupid.

You are what is most noble and worthy, and you are what is most dreadful and disgraceful. So when you think “You can’t change stupid” when talking about another, you are talking about yourself not being able to change.

I believe we can all feel this on some level. This is why you are part of the problem. You think you can sit in your comfortable little existence and not be affected by words, thought, and beliefs you hold to. Beliefs that are only true based on your experience and circumstance.

As John Mayer sang in his early 2000 fame, “Were all waiting for the world to change”, instead of thinking more like Gandhi, “Be the Change”.

We have to be the change. To grow we must not see stupid ignorant humans in the world. We must look for the good.

An American icon and national treasure Mr. Roger has a beautiful quote, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

My Changing Mind

In light of the COVID19 pandemic, I have found myself in a flurry of worry, anger, and frustration. There is just enough information that contradicts other information to make is so whatever you want to believe you’ve got a case.

People post on social media information from sources they know nothing about. They only know that it proves their thinking is correct. And the only people commenting are those in agreement or those the post is designed to offend.

I’m a scroller. I don’t comment much because I can’t say for sure what is right. And I refuse to be pulled into an online war over a shared tweet. Words designed with the purpose to divide us.

These are the worst. I had to actually leave my home and take my thoughts for a walk after reading a series of posts targeting my own beliefs from someone I know is a good person, and in my opinion, just wildly misinformed.

I was angry. I associated him and his beliefs with the us vs. them mentality. I started to think about what jerks we humans are. Getting so angry about someone else’s thoughts!

Isn’t that what American is all about?

Freedom to think about how you choose. Isn’t this what I find so disheartening about the political world right now. Shouldn’t we be fighting for right vs. wrong not Republican vs. socialist?

The great novel 1984 by George Orwell keeps coming to mind. The two minutes of hate. Where daily everyone collectively stops what they’re doing to yell hateful words at the enemies of the state, specifically Goldstein and his followers.

It hit me like a whiff of sewage.

We do this all day, every day.

Longer than 2 minutes.

More like slow-burning hate that lays with us all day until we finally are comforted by the familiar thoughts of those we love.

So how do we get out of this cycle?

How do we rise above the attitude that its someone else’s fault? That we can’t do or be or live a certain way because of “them”

If I had that answer I wouldn’t be stuck in my own self disruptive cycles. I do know that focusing on what binds us rather than what separates us is a good start.

I’m not telling you that you have to accept everyone’s thoughts or believes. Trust me, no one will ever convince me that raisins are a good idea. Rather just realize that everyone is living in a different headspace. The events of their lives have shaped them much like you and your experiences have shaped you.

There is enough room for all thought patterns. I disagree with a lot of the way things in this world work, but here I am. I’ve also lived long enough to see that without difference we have no liberty.

So if you don’t want to be a part of the problem that dividing us, take a moment to appreciate how different ways of life unite us. How liberating it was for the sexually abused women to take ownership of her body by getting that tattoo. How hard that kid you knew from middle school worked to become a partner at the firm.

It takes all kinds of people. Now whenever anyone says to me, “they’re stupid”. I retort by asking if they’re kind. I’ll take a kind heart over a smart bully any day. I will no longer be fooled into thinking that I don’t matter and that I’m separate from the whole. If you’re in pain, I’m in pain, and so on and so on forever until we unite and lift, and be the change we wish to see.

Breathwork Coach, Pulmonaut Explorer, & Content Creator. Taking it one breath at a time.