I’m a firm believer that there are as much good things happening out there in the world as there are bad things. But, of course, the bad news gets magnified because these are usually unusual or horrific and so call the attention of the media.
And we’ve had our fair share of tragic events from big scale tragedies like the Mamasapano massacre, to news about women being raped inside taxis, to children being killed by their own parents because of drugs. Even celebrities and First World countries aren’t immune to these issues. There was the recent killing of YouTube star Christina Grimmie and the massacre in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were killed and 53 wounded. There’s also the most recent attack in Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. And it doesn’t end there really.
Thinking about how we just continually hurt each other and even the planet we live in (that’s a different story for another day) hurts my heart. It can render one helpless and hopeless about the state of the world we live in. What happened? Why have we become like this? Is there even a way to fix this?
I can’t speak from an expert’s perspective but one of a human being observing and living in our world, one who is concerned about how we’re choosing to live our lives and perceive the world. It’s become a selfish place. One where we only think for ourselves and our own circumstances, needs, and wants. And that isn’t the way we should be living on this planet. Author John Green reminded me of this in a recent commencement address he gave at Kenyon College.
“Living for one’s self even very successfully will do absolutely nothing to fill the gasping void inside of you. In my experience, that void gets filled not through strength but through weakness. You must be weak before the world because love and listening weaken you. They make you vulnerable. They break you open. And it is only when you are weak that you can truly see and acknowledge and forgive and love the weakness in others.”
Vulnerability is often perceived as a weakness. You should be strong. Your walls should always be up. Look out for yourself because no one else will. We have unwittingly had these thoughts drilled into our heads. But we forget of the times when these walls need to be lowered or sometimes we have them lowered for us through devastating circumstances. And at those times, we understand the need to reach out, to love and be loved.
We need to be vulnerable in this world. We need to go against what we’ve been taught all of these years to live and grow as human beings. We need to “be soft” as another favorite writer of mine, Iain S. Thomas, says. Because once we put up those walls, we might protect ourselves but we shut others out, too. We need to teach our kids about a different world, a softer, kinder one.
I hope I see in my lifetime this kinder world. One that’s willing to be weak in order to get stronger. I’ve never given thought on what kind of fight I want to get behind before. Of course, there’s the expected ones for peace, education for all, food for all, and the like. But this is also the kind of fight I want to wage. It’s that hill I’m willing to die on. We need to do it until we aren’t physically able to. We need to be open, vulnerable, and soft towards the harshest and darkest elements of this world.
And I leave you with that “be soft” quote from I Wrote This For You: Just The Words by pleasefindthis (a.k.a. Iain S. Thomas).
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”