We rise by lifting others. Rachel knows best, that smart woman!
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how we support one another- not just during this pandemic, but during a time in society where others need our support and love more than ever.
If you’ve read any of my posts, you probably know that I’ve pretty much adopted the phrase that we need to “build each other up instead of tearing each other down”. Why is that so important to me? For a lot of reasons… both personal and professional. So I just thought for today’s post, that would be pretty fitting.
It’s not a secret that COVID19 has brought out both the best and the worst in people. We have seen the ultimate best of humanity- people sewing scrub caps and masks for workers on the front lines, communities rallying together to support people who are homeless, and sacrificing themselves and their own lives to care for others, or make sure that we have food on the table. I’m choosing not to dwell on the bad stuff, but you guys have certainly seen our fair share of all of that too I’m sure.
There will always be givers and takers in life (more on that another day), and usually those who are more comfortable “taking” and taking and taking, are the ones who feel they need to belittle others or put them down to feel better about themselves. Often in difficult situations when I hear people criticize me or others, I’ve chosen not to be angry at them anymore, but instead feel sorry for them. Because ultimately it comes down to- how secure are you in your thoughts and actions, and who YOU are as a person. If you know you are doing the right thing, doing GOOD, you don’t need to make others feel small to feel good about yourself.
I don’t mean that in a feeling overconfident sort of way- I just mean you don’t need the validation from others to know that you’re doing the right thing and making the right choices. You know me, I’m second guesser extraordinaire sometimes, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that if I go out of my way to make a difference and make the lives of others better, that is ultimately the most I can do.
You have to be okay sometimes with knowing that you’re not going to please everybody (my fatal flaw), and be secure in what you DO. It’s not just about what you say.
Have you ever noticed that the BEST people you know are not those who need to take all the credit for “what they do”, but instead are more concerned about building others and giving them opportunities to be acknowledged, to learn and to grow? The ones who are there to support you in your darkest moments?
I’ll be honest, a lot of these thoughts in my head have stemmed from the behaviours of some people in my life who have not treated me with the kindness that I am trying especially hard these days to exude and perpetuate in my actions with others. I think that the negativity, discrimination and judgment of others has been exacerbated by what we’re seeing going on in the media and around the world- the mistreatment of people of colour, or who are different than those with privilege.
But what really irked me in these situations has been the abuse of privilege in so many ways- not just over people of colour, but also just by people who abuse their power for their own gain. The double standard of leaders telling their staff to observe social distancing while they don’t practice what they preach, those who are insensitive to the losses many are experiencing because “those are the rules”. Those who engage in talking about others behind their backs because it allows them to find “common ground” with the bullies themselves so that they are no longer the target of the disdain and frustration. Let’s make it clear- THIS IS WRONG.
So how do we change this? Change this in a culture which historically has disadvantaged those without power, without resources, and without the means to speak up or advocate for themselves?
We do it.
You speak up even though it’s not the easy thing to do. You call people on their negative and opressive behaviours (in a respectful way). You have the tough conversations.
And YOU be the positive change.
Historically, it is those who are most disadvantaged, who don’t HAVE a voice, that have been oppressed. If you have the choice to speak up about these important issues, then you are lucky enough not to have lived it. But the people affected by them don’t have that luxury. They live it each and every day. It is our duty and our responsibility as human beings to protect those who don’t have the same privilege as ourselves.
In the past many months, I have tried to make a really conscious effort to be more positive in my interactions with everyone, despite how I may be feeling. Despite my own personal frustrations, and even how those people may have treated me in the past. Because that’s the person I want to be, that I want to be remembered as. There is more than enough negativity in the world, no need to add to it!
I hope you make a difference in someone else’s life today.
xo, – C