• Lucia Joyce

Don't Forget That We're All Human Beings

Your social media profile is not you. It's a thin representation of things you like and see.

You are a human being. Your Facebook is a bunch of digital memories and jokes and rants.

When you start fights and leave judgmental comments on people's creations, you're forgetting about the humans behind that creativity. You're forgetting, also, about your own humanity.

When you scroll through Instagram or Youtube for that third hour, sucking up content like a vacuum and ignoring the world in front of you, you might forget we're all just living, breathing beings trying to find meaning in the chaos. The amount of money/followers/perceived 'success' we each have doesn't detract from our innate shared interest in experiencing love and steadily improving our lives, bit by bit.

This might be hard to swallow: the politicians/TV stars/coworkers/types of people you hate? They're ALL human beings. You will never know what they're truly going through or dealing with. People with different beliefs are still people. And when you're quick to point fingers and call someone 'less than', you're coming from a place of fear, not empathy. Unfortunately, no disagreements are solved without a little empathy. We are not going to abolish hate with hate of our own. We have to take the time to empathize and converse and even understand.

The empathy is what gets things done anyway. When you take the time to listen to someone who feels unheard, you are doing much more to stop the flow of misunderstanding and hate. Seeing the humanity in the people you disagree with is one of the bravest and best ways to quell the crime and chaos. I'm not saying you can't get angry and determined in your fight to make a better world. I'm not saying you won't ever feel numbed out by all the fear-mongering and injustice (you probably will). I'm saying that forgetting we're all human beings isn't helping anything.

That person in your family who said that awful thing? They're a human being. They love you, and their comment came from a place of hurt, not evil.

That crime committer you heard about and can't possibly understand? We cannot begin to know the depth of their trauma and sickness, but the way we counteract the most heinous crimes is by raising awareness of mental health and doing our part to teach empathy and wellness to everyone we can, not retaliating in fear and sensationalizing the unwell.

That person with a zillion followers you can't stop seeing everywhere who makes you feel depressed about your own situation? They are likely to be struggling just as much as you, while living a life in the public eye and bearing the responsibility of such a following.

That awkward person you're tempted to bully? They probably have a story you could empathize with instead.

That person you were when you made a mistake or hurt someone? That was a necessary step in your evolution and you have the power to both empathize with and forgive yourself so you can be better. And your story doesn't have to be silenced. There is strength in admitting your mistakes.

Stop focusing on the qualities you can't stand and remember something: if you're having a tough time, probably everyone is. We all can, at a minimum, recognize the humanness in everyone around us, in person and on the web. We can listen and forgive a little bit more and leave a bigger communal space for human kindness.

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