Saturday, October 1, 2016

Living in a Society that Lacks Self-Love: Thoughts on Racial Tension in America

It's been a crazy whirlwind of adventures since I last wrote on my blog. I had a fortune cookie earlier this year that read something to the effect of "your life will change so much, you may not recognize yourself by the end of the year". I think about that silly cookie every now and again. I look back and see the experiences I've had this year... volunteering with orphans in Romania, seeing Heather accept the Gospel and how happy she is, watching her get ready to leave on a mission to Russia, being drugged in Prague and learning how it feels to be completely vulnerable to a cruel world, learning how to trust in the human race again, overcoming a very painful heartbreak, pleading with God to allow me to forgive and let go, moving to Scotland, being homesick and learning to trust in the Lord's will for my life, increasing my knowledge through intense study, fighting feelings of inadequacies, and finding ways to fit in while still being different. I feel like this year has been one of dramatic highs and lows. I've had to do a lot of soul searching and redefining who I want to be. I've learned lessons that I never thought I would learn and my empathy towards others has increased SO much! I've thought about how much I rely on prayer and my communication with God. I don't know how I would have made it through this year without Him.

I'm currently in a Masters program in Scotland. I have friends from ALL over the world and I LOVE it! I love diversity. The more I talk to my friends the more I realize how much we have in common. There are differences in our culture, our beliefs, and our experiences, however, the similarities are just as great. I'm learning as much from them as I am from my modules. We all have moments of feeling overwhelmed by our studies, we all have moments of missing home, we all have moments where we don't understand boys, we all have weaknesses and strengths that are unique to us... to some extent we all feel uncertain about what the future holds.

I think about all the racial tension in the United States and I just wish we could see souls instead of color. I wish we could have understanding and compassion instead of bitterness. Here we are in 2016, living in the most technological advanced time where we have the power to impact the world at our fingertips. We live at a time where anything and everything is possible. There are no limits to our creations and our dreams. So why is it so hard for us to see each other as human beings who live and breath and love. We are all human beings with concerns and difficult circumstances. We all have reasons for being the way we are. We all come from different backgrounds that molded our beliefs and formed our views on life. Why do we have to spend so much time and energy on fault finding, playing the victim, or planning revenge? I truly believe the only way to fix these problems is with an increase of love. Anything else, no matter what the motive, is damaging.

My favorite module this semester is Business Ethics. I LOVE this course. We look at different theories and then analyze business cases in regards to those theories. There is no clear right or wrong, but rather different perspectives of the same situation. It's so interesting to see it from the side of the organization and to think "ah... that's totally ethical". Then we will look at it from the side of society and I find myself thinking "This is SO wrong! How could they do this and feel good about themselves?". I am learning the significance of seeing things from different perspectives. I am realizing that situations can look completely different when you see them from a new angle. I think it is a sign of ignorance to always assume you are right and others are wrong. It is a sign of close mindedness that will only serve to hurt you in the end.

I wish we could apply this way of thinking in America. I wish we could all try to see things from another perspective and to set aside our ego and pride. Have there been racial discriminations? Absolutely. Have there been times where things were blamed on racism when, in reality, it was not? Absolutely. Yet, if we get stuck here... what progress will come? If we can see what has been, and consciously make an effort to change our way of thinking (from both sides), then perhaps we can start to see each other with a new perspective. Perhaps we can start to see our differences and embrace them. I wonder if whether our desire to be around others who are similar to us, says more about our insecurities in who we are and our uncertainty of whether others will accept us, that ultimately leads us to look for others with whom we have similarities and consequently making us feel more self assured in who we are. We need more confidence in ourselves! We need to understand that it is OK to be different from our neighbors. It is OK to not fully understand each other and our perceptions of the world. IT IS OK TO STAND OUT.  If only we could give ourselves the self assurance we crave rather then searching for it amongst others.

I've pondered the concept of "love thy neighbor as thyself". This idea is so simple and yet extremely profound. It's easy to overlook the idea of self-love.... however, if you don't love yourself, how much love can you really show to your neighbor?? The more confident we are in who we are, the more tolerant and accepting we are of those around us. We are less critical and more kind. We find more ways to lift others up, because we aren't so hollowed down by our own insecurities. I wonder if we are living in a society of many people who don't love themselves. People who find it easier to project anger and hate, rather than looking inwards and making peace with themselves.

If I could wish for anything within our society, it would be an increase of love and acceptance of others AND ourselves. I hope that one day we can choose to see souls and not color. Just some thoughts I've had.

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