Division. I see division all around me. Friends and families fighting over politics. People attacking one another on social media. Social groups fighting for the spotlight. Causes being thrown around as if they are the newest and best idea; as if their value is greater than the struggles of others. Division is everywhere and it seems to be spreading like wildfire.
What if I were to tell you that your pain is no greater than the person standing next to you? That your struggles are no more or less than your co-worker or that guy you see at the bus stop each morning? What if I were to tell you that your group is not suffering more, your life is not hindered more, or your world is not smaller?
What if we all looked at one another as human beings that shared the same small piece of rock? What if?
My thoughts take me back to when I first began Forget Me Not Advocacy Group. I reached out to an acquaintance to get some guidance on putting together a fundraiser. She had successfully done a similar event not long before and I wanted to see what she had done to bring in the numbers. Sadly, I don’t really remember what advice she may have given me because she made two statements that cut so deep that I never really go over them. They focused on the importance of her cause, her organization, and her passion and how much more important and “touching” they were to society, implying that my cause would not have the same success because it just didn’t affect as many. The irony is that my cause affected many, many more, but her lack of education and the bandwagon effect was teaching society otherwise.
Sadly, as I’ve ventured further down this path of social awareness, I see many like her. Many who believe their cause, their religion, their outlook, or their perception is all encompassing. That it is more important than others. Their group is suffering more, the illness they fight for is more difficult to deal with, the issue is affecting more people, they have struggled longer, there is a more legitimate need for funding, and the list goes on.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many out there who are working hard to create change and are doing so with no motive but to help others. I have met so many amazing people working for pennies in order to reach and help those around them. But there are also those who will shut you out in their own way. There are groups and organizations that make promises they don’t adhere to, offer to help you just to use your ideas, and let you in close just to learn about their competition. And then there are those that have been burned so badly by others that they have simply forgotten what their original mission was.
This jockeying for position and funding, however, is not limited to nonprofits and volunteers. It is simply an extension of a much broader societal issue. There is not a day that goes by that a chain message/post does not grace the walls of Facebook. “If you care, you will do blank.” There are those who will attack you if you do not defend a group, stand up for a cause, or agree with their standpoint.
We address “bandwagon” issues daily in our society but totally ignore others. If you are blank, you get blank. If you follow X religion you are blank, but if you are Y religion, you are something else. Certain rights to certain groups, but not to others. You are a bigot if you speak up for group Z, but a saint if you speak up for group Y.
Enough is enough! We are all one thing…human. It does not matter who you are or what you believe, where you hail from or what political affiliation you carry, what color your skin is or what cause you are passionate about.
You can be you and be open to others. You can have a passion and support others passions as well. You can be drawn to a cause and still acknowledge and support the other causes around you. You can have your beliefs and still respect the beliefs of others, and you can fight for or preach your ideals without putting down the ideals of those around you.
We are one. We can live side by side and show love and compassion to those who surround us in this journey called life.
Division does no good. It accomplishes nothing. But, when we pull together and look out for the welfare of everyone, with kindness, acceptance, and love, we will not only grow, but we will accel. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Don’t let the hatred of others fuel your own agenda. Simply be.
Be open, be educated, and be kind.