This has been a pretty brutal summer.
In the past seven days, we have seen the police kill two men in an incomprehensible manner. We have seen five police officers killed in cold blood in the line of duty. We have watched race relations disintegrate, anger and mistrust reach a fever pitch, and blame for the world’s problems being slung around like Halloween candy on social media pages.
Regardless of who you are, the unfortunate reality that we all share is that we are currently living in a world with far more questions than answers.
And, as a black man who writes about positivity, quite a few people have hit me up in the past few days to ask me for answers to these very tough questions.
Most of them were a variation of this one:
“The world is circling the drain right now. What can we do to make a positive change in the face of such unrelenting negativity?”
I have an answer.
The problem with my answer is that many people won’t have the guts, resilience and mental toughness to even try it once they hear what it is. Which is completely fine, because I’m not writing this for them anyway.
For the rest of us, read on.
Doing What’s Hard vs. Doing What’s Easy
The answer to all of our current problems (and every problem in our world’s history) comes down to one simple choice:
Choosing love over fear.
That seems so simple doesn’t it? That’s because it is. Unfortunately, its simplicity will cause many people to dismiss this as a woo-woo, head-in-the-clouds, mentally-soft delusion that will have no effect on the harsh reality of our current world.
Those people are dead wrong. There’s nothing “mentally-soft” or easy about choosing love.
Do you know what’s easy?
Fighting fire with fire. Making excuses and blaming others, while doing nothing to offer solutions. Using the events of the past few days as an excuse to further separate yourself from people who don’t look like you do, or think like you do. Choosing to judge an entire group of people (black people, police officers, white people, gay people, Muslim people, etc.) based on the actions of a few.
All of those actions are rooted in fear. This type of fear is created in the lowest and most primitive part of our minds, and it will consistently push us toward equally-primitive results (separateness, hate, and hopelessness)…if we let it. Where this type of fear exists, love cannot survive.
That’s what this is about. Love. Or more specifically, the courage to choose love.
Do you know what’s hard?
Being peaceful and caring instead of impulsively resorting to violence. Seeking to understand–or better yet, actually hang out with–people who are different from you, so that you can realize that you’re really not that different from them after all. Raising the level of thoughtful discussion online instead of being a “keyboard gangsta” by anonymously hurling hateful and ignorant comments at others like a coward. Diving headfirst into healing our world in any way possible instead of leaving this hard work for someone else to do for you.
That’s what love would do.
Is that what you would do too?
That’s what you need to answer, because here’s the reality that’s staring you in the face right now: there is no one else who can spread this love, besides you.
Fear Always Fails
If you’ve been watching the news for the past week and you think that more hate, more separateness, more apathy, more guns, more excuses, more insensitivity, more name-calling, more victim-blaming, more hopelessness, and more violence are the answers to our problems, then you need to come to grips with the fact that you are officially part of the problem that many of us working hard to fix.
And yes, your fear, is at the heart of it.
It’s okay to be scared. I’m scared too. It’s a frightening world that we live in. But here’s the deal–be scared if you need to be, but I’m asking you to snap out of it as quickly as you can so that you can find the courage to spread love and kindness as far and as wide as you can.
Fear has failed us.
- Fear is what drives bully bosses to dehumanize their employees and systematically destroy their lives on a daily basis.
- Fear is what keeps people stuck in a mediocre existence instead of going after their lifelong hopes and dreams before they die.
- Fear is what keeps people stuck in soul-crushing relationships that they should have walked away from years ago.
- Fear is the driving force behind every fight, war, form of abuse and practically every atrocity that this world has ever seen.
- Fear is what will keep us from boldly standing up to a broken world by sharing love when no one else has the courage to do the same.
If there are any positives that I can take from the past week (and believe me, there aren’t many), it’s that it has reawakened many people to the destructive power of fear, and it has recommitted us to the urgency of addressing it with love.
Love or fear–everything starts from one of those two places. That much, we already know.
What we don’t know is how the story will end.
That’s because it’s up to us to write that story with our actions, starting today.
So, what’s it going to be America?
Does love have the power to solve America’s (or really, our world’s) problems? Jump into the comment section below and make your voice heard!
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