I often think about the amount of incredible people that exist out there. People who survive freak accidents and come out to teach us about life. People who are born without limps showing us their strength and endurance. People who survive abusive relationships and kidnaps who still show us grace. Or even just the nice man that offered my grandmother a seat, or the bank teller who greeted me and patiently helped me. Or the neighbor that stops to chat about life with me. People who stop to notice me, to notice life.
Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think we’re all in a rat race. I think there are plenty of people who still notice how amazing life is. I think there are plenty of people who still stop to notice the color of the sky or the color of the leaves. I don’t buy into this idea that we’re all becoming robots who barely notice life anymore. If that was the case, we wouldn’t have artists or writers or musicians. Creativity would be dead. But it’s not and that says a lot.
I stopped watching the news a long time ago because of the negativity it promotes. Sensationalism is a business and I stopped buying it. If I want to know what’s happening in the world I go out and look at it. I stopped letting a TV screen dictate what I think of the world. Since then I noticed I ask questions way more. When someone makes generalizations, instead of nodding, I ask them why they think that. What experiences in their life has led them to believe that. And most of the time they end up seeing what they’re saying is not really true.
We are fed lies and one sided stories all the time. We are spoon fed other peoples’ fears and prejudices all the time. Sometimes they are so small we don’t even notice it and that’s what makes it so dangerous. Because before you know it, you’ve become this hateful person. I truly believe that’s how hate rises. ISIS, KKK, these are all born out of hate. But how do you think hate of that size starts? In small dosages. No one is born with hate.
So I challenge you to question hate. Stop taking in one sided stories as facts. Don’t just nod when your friends make prejudiced statements. Ask them what makes them think that. Whenever I’m about to go traveling, I’m bound to have one person say to me, “Why are you going there? My friend went and had a horrible time.” But they are always comments made by people who’ve never been there, or people who’ve heard it from friends or the news. I understand that sometimes people have good intentions and they just to warn you, but you must learn to distinguish information from fear. Yes, danger exists, but do your own research. Don’t just let other peoples’ perceptions and experiences become yours until you’ve actually experienced it. Never stop questioning fear, never stop questioning hate.