It has been a week since the recent 19 year anniversary of September 11th, a day that will forever be marked in history. I found a common theme across my social media circles and that was we need to get back to how we dealt with that tragedy the days following the attack. I saw statements like, “let’s get back to loving one another; can we please bring back compassionate for others?; let’s forget our differences and remember we are one human nation;” and so many other statements.
It seems we have lost our ability over the last several years of how to be supportive and loving towards each other. Judging and hatred and disregarding others opinions have been more prevalent lately over the last few years. It saddens me to see how we can’t keep that feeling of one community and we are so divided over just about anything imaginable. It’s time to take action…one person at a time.
How can one person make such an impact on another? It may be simpler than we think. Shane Leketa, podcaster of Coffee Talk says, “…we need to get back to basics, invest in others, encourage and support one another,” even if we do not fully agree with everything they believe in or say.
When 9/11 happened, our nation truly united. We did anything possible to help by donating our time, money, support, love, and patriotism for our country. It didn’t matter what race, gender, social status you were because all in all, we just wanted to help our fellow human being. We forgot our differences and just pulled together.
Social media has been both a positive way of connecting with others, but has also served as a conduit for anyone to believe they have the right to say just about anything to the world without repercussions. It’s become our medium of venting, complaining, bullying, fighting, pushing our agendas, and anything else in that realm.
Instead of highlighting the negative aspects, let’s see what positive impact social media has had on us. It has enabled us to share our day with others, encourage and lift each other, reconnect with family and old friends, as well as making new connections with others around the world. One thing seems to be common…many are seeking the same thing and that is love and understanding.
Perhaps we can stop hyper focusing and accept the imperfections of things around us. Even things that aren’t perfect have a purpose and light that should be shown.
Back to basics. Family time, friend gatherings, enjoying the little things, going outside and breathing fresh air or re-connecting with nature. We are so blessed to have technology on our side to help us continue to communicate with one another. However, sometimes, we do need to unplug and pay attention to what is in front of us. Our neighbors. Our family. Our friends. Our world.
There are many suffering from mental illness, or going through difficult times with their families. Some people are completely alone and are battling post traumatic stress disorder. Our older generation has been isolated more than ever since this pandemic. our children are losing their innocence of wonder and amazement because they are exposed to so much. Some parents tell their kids everything and some choose to not share all the negative aspects of our world.
It can get overwhelming thinking about all the stressors in life and what everyone experiences on a day to day basis. So, let’s tackle it differently by breaking down the issues into bite sized pieces where we truly can make a difference and start rebuilding our communities.
Invest in others
What does that entail? taking the time to get to know others, not just superficially, but really understand them. Call your elderly parents and say hello. Help your neighbor who is struggling with a piece of lawn equipment. Write a letter to our military troops who are far from home.
Encourage each other
We all can use encouragement. Sometimes if we lift another person’s spirit, ours can be lifted as well. I’m not saying to do this for selfish reasons, but it’s a natural way of human interaction. We feel good when we help others, so don’t stop what comes natural to us and don’t be afraid to offer words of encouragement when you see someone is hurting or not themselves. Be someone’s shoulder to lean on. Be that ear someone needs to listen. Just be there.
It’s OK to Agree to Disagree
One of the most difficult challenges we face is tolerance of others and their differences, yet still be respectful towards one another. Everyone has opinions or beliefs that may not jive with yours and it is totally fine! How boring would life be if we all believed the same way? It’s healthy to have various discussions, but when we start bashing another person’s opinions and start disrespecting their character, then we have overstepped the line.
There is a thing called Rules of Engagement in the military. It is defined as,
“directives meant to describe the circumstances under which ground, naval, and air forces will enter into and continue combat with opposing forces. Formally, rules of engagement refer to the orders issued by a competent military authority that delineate when, where, how, and against whom military force may be used, and they have implications for what actions soldiers may take on their own authority and what directives may be issued by a commanding officer. Rules of engagement are part of a general recognition that procedures and standards are essential to the conduct and effectiveness of civilized warfare.”
Even during World War I, there was an unofficial cease-fire during Christmas. Enemies stopped fighting. They didn’t want to fight one another even though they were on opposite sides. There was a common understanding that no one would fight on Christmas Day. How amazing is that? To think we actually possessed the respect to lay down our firearms so that we could have a day of peace.
I am not saying we need to treat our society like the military, but there is something we can extract from this and how society treats one another and their differences. Tolerance. Respect. Kindness. Love.
We are one human race, on one planet, with invisible lines that border us. We do not have to allow those invisible lines divide us. We can cross over and get back to basics by being compassionate towards other people, despite ourselves.