We have so many feelings and optional ways to respond to the things we see in the world.
We get to choose.
Is it easy? It can be. But it often doesn't feel like it is. We often think we have no choice in the matter. We sometimes fall into a pattern of thinking there's only one right way.
We visualize one outcome (sometimes religiously) and throw a tantrum inside (or outside) when that outcome is inevitably thwarted. But we could just be observing what's right in front of us. We could be finding bits of things to ground us in gratitude and strength of spirit. We could be delighting in all the surprise outcomes because we weren't so attached to the one we first envisioned.
The news and online media is clogged with every possible individual opinion about Black Lives Matter, police brutality, racism, sexism, LGBTQ+ pride, systemic injustice, the global economy, and Taylor Swift. There are around 7.8 billion people in the world, every single one of them with their own set of experiences and beliefs and gut reactions.
In the past, we have tried to make it easier to understand the sheer vastness and diversity of humanity by dividing people up into categories, based on 'ways they are different from us'. Some people use cultural traditions: food, clothing, and customs based on the physical environment they usually live (which has gotten trickier because anyone can pretty much live anywhere in the world now). Some people use languages (probably worked great until they started crossing over and fusing). Some people use race (a confusing designation kind of to-do with skin color and ethnicity and even sometimes religion, a thing with zero scientific basis). Some people use gender (which never made any sense because in order to continue your culture's lineage, different genders have to interact, ideally on friendly or better terms). Some people even use 'poor' life choices (like abortion, adultery, divorce, petty crime) to categorize others and decide who is worth their time/money/better opinions, but this, too, is flawed, as designating 'worthiness' based on people's mistakes strips them of an opportunity to grow and do better.
Still, others choose to look at people by their career choices, sexuality, body type, accent, physical abilities/disabilities, and accomplishments. These judgments come from our Darwinian 'survival of the fittest' brains, that needed to swiftly categorize the world for thousands of years in order to stay alive and fed and carry on the evolution of our species. But we've evolved, exceedingly fast in some (not all) ways, and now a huge majority of us don't have to worry about survival in the same way. We have evolved to care less about basic food and shelter and more about purpose, fulfillment, deeper relationships, and consciousness. So... categorizing humans isn't making things easier. It's making things harder.
Think of how much easier things could be if we looked at people from a lens of sameness, of unity. If we saw a shared humanity and worthiness in every person, regardless of their definitions that don't hurt us. Your sexuality is one thing about you. If I dismiss or disregard you based off of one thing we don't happen to have in common, one thing that doesn't hurt me in any way, I cut off the chance to learn, to listen, to collaborate, to upgrade my perspective. Learning through diversity is a faster gateway to solving real problems, like hunger, homelessness, animal welfare, and global goddamn warming. I am a living example of that learning. People from all places, parentages, and walks of life have taught me everything I know. Being ok with being different (I had to be. I was literally the only half-Filipino girl in the entire town I was born in) gave me better daily interactions, better grades, better food habits and tastes, better dance moves, better relationships, and a better life.
Is it your responsibility to know and care about the opinion of all 7.8 billion people? F**k no.
But why not be a better listener to the people in front of you, and the victims of a system that needs a complete re-do, because people are unnecessarily suffering and dying. When we're on more of an even footing with our perspectives, we're solving all of our problems faster by working together.
This is unity consciousness--as opposed to 'separateness consciousness'. It works by making choices to help and support, instead of divide. If you're starting an angry debate about the exact 'right' way to go about something... you're working to divide, not collaborate. You're just pointing out another difference, even if that wasn't your intention. If you have a constructive conversation that involves basic respect and listening, you're operating out of a desire for unity, not separateness.
So many things are helping unity consciousness right now:
1. People using kindness, listening, good humor, and clear actionable choices to progress our society.
2. People happily educating themselves on anything-- because not one among us knows everything. We can always grow and expand our perspective.
3. People raising their kids through love, acceptance and their best intentions.
4. People realizing that around the world we're all pretty much the same--just people trying to feed and shelter ourselves and our families; trying to stay healthy and keep the pantry stocked and watch Netflix and listen to sick beats. OK, Netflix and beats...I can't guarantee those are universal, but surviving with a purpose... I'd be willing to bet on that.
5. A deep breath, instead of an explosive reaction (easier said than done without practice)
6. Gratitude, and kindness, and openness to different opinions.
7. A willingness to work on yourself, and not place the burden of that work on anyone else.
8. Choosing quiet and rest and self care instead of bigger reactions when we're exhausted or wracked with emotions.
Honestly, all this advice is for me, first. Even though these concepts swirl around in my heart and mind, I am imperfect and sensitive and need these reminders, often.