One of the things that many of us have in common is a past we cannot change. We’ve often heard many life coaches and motivational speakers talk about continuing to work on the present and moving forward, that we should keep the past behind us. As appealing as this advice may be, I feel that ignoring an important part of ourselves isn’t really complete advice. Ultimately at the end of the day when we are by ourselves and we become introspective, where does our mind go? Often to the past.
Since the past isn’t something we can change, it’s important that we look at it from different perspectives. Just like with people and situations in our lives, if we can’t change them, it’s important to change our perspective. As I sit here, I think about all of failures I’ve had in the past. For some, reflecting on things that’ve gone wrong might be debilitating and discouraging. But with the right perspective, it can be liberating. Each time we’ve failed at something, it means we’ve displayed courage and took a risk. And most importantly that we’ve survived.
We fell down seven times, but something made us stand up an eighth time. What was your reason for continuing to keep trying? And can we cultivate that into a passion that keeps us interested in life?
I was recently going through my archive of articles, and I came across a piece I wrote the day after a bakery was bombed by a government sanctioned attacked in Syria. When I wrote it, I had trouble expressing my sadness. I imagined a small boy with his dad, waiting in line to get their rations — then: BOOM! Disoriented people scrambling from the dust of the aftermath, charred body parts scattered everywhere and people crying to their creator; everything had changed.
I wondered how long it would take for people to forget about this incident, and it seemed like maybe a few days at best. The answer may not surprise you if you watch the news. Terrible things are presented on the news daily, but good things also happen just as frequently. If we impulsively move from tragedy to tragedy at the behest of our reptilian brain, we become similar to branch-swinging monkeys trying avoiding a predator.
Decisions are made every day when it comes to humans lives. This attack was government sanctioned against the “terrorists,” but the civilians became the collateral damage. Some of my friends fear becoming jaded to the horrible news we see each day, and that this brutality will become normalized. I think the greater thing to fear is ignorance; mistakenly considering the world to be a hostile place, just because the small group of extremist assholes get the most exposure.
As Gandhi once said, “If a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. If we take a moment and look back on a few tragedies today: Joseph Kony is no longer deemed an important criminal, Walter Palmer is still practicing dentistry after killing Cecil the Lion and the Ebola virus seemed to suddenly reset itself. These tragedies have time and time again emerged, which illustrates that we don’t need awareness anymore. People are aware, but now we need well thought out actions.
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