- the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.
There is so much happening in America right now that my heart and head cannot fully comprehend. There are people hurting and disillusioned on every side of a dozen different issues plaguing our country. The thing that saddens me most is no side seems to notice. No one is listening to anyone whose voice or message differs from his or her own. We are slowly being conditioned to hate one another for any number of "reasons". The media is sensationalizing everything. The politicians are trying to use every challenge to bolster their own agenda or discredit opponents. Tensions are high, and trust is low. Everybody has an opinion on what’s wrong with everyone else. I feel as though I am trapped in a dystopian novel. This has to be The Matrix. Frankly, I am tired and I have not even been "in the fight" like many people. I’m frustrated with humanity. I know I should be engaged with others, but my mind is a whirlwind of exasperation and disappointment. If I did know what I want to say, I am not sure who will listen. Some days the ache in my heart subsides a bit, then I log onto the internet. The battle rages anew as I stumble onto an article, news story or campaign by my social media contacts. There are some really egregious events and appalling attitudes circulating out there, and I am overwhelmed. I am despondent, angry, shocked. I’m frustrated with humanity, but my idealistic heart won’t let me camp out in despair. I must hold onto hope.
I just want people to love one another. I want everyone to stop bickering and pandering and proselytizing. I want everyone to stop staring and gawking and to start seeing. When my friends are enduring something hard, I like to look directly into their eyes as I check up on them. In their eyes I can often see what they may be feeling despite the words they say. I find my own compassion, understanding and humanity in their eyes. When looking into the windows of another’s soul, I can more easily resist the urge to judge their story. I don’t simply hear their words, I feel with them. I can see the person, not my opinions and beliefs. I see people who also have fears, hurts, hopes and drives. I see them for more than what I think I know about them. By seeing my friends, I know them better. And this works for friend and foe alike. Abraham Lincoln was known to have said, “I don’t like that man. I must get to get to know him better.” Oh, if more of us would practice such wisdom today. By knowing one better, I can offer grace and empathy, even if we don’t see eye to eye on genuinely important matters.
The thing that is most important is the human being standing in front of me (or on the other side of the screen) who deserves to be heard and understood. Even if I don’t agree. It is so cliche, but seeing people affords us the opportunity to walk in one another’s shoes. Seek first to understand, then to be understood is a principle of successful leaders for a reason; it works. And if we all can do those two things, the harder it is to demonize or demoralize each other. It is less likely we will throw stones or minimize one another’s lived experiences.
If I really look to see people, then I cannot run away and hide as I have wanted to do over the last several weeks. I have to stay and fight for humanity- mine and "theirs".