Do you know that feeling of being out and about trying to enjoy a breath of fresh air, and then a sudden gust of pungent smell from the street sewer would blow into your face? Well, that’s how it felt like for me this week. The week started off pretty good...until the wind blew that smell hard into my face. For a moment I could glimpse the true face and smell the true scent of the world. And once again, my faith in humanity was being put to the test. And what triggered it? A very strange and hate-laden post I stumbled across on Facebook.
Innocence is invaluable and inherent in every being. But once it’s broken, we lose a lot of what makes life magical, we blatantly refuse to believe its authenticity when people display it, we insist it’s naivety or stupidity, we accept it only in children & pets, and we fail to see it embedded in love. In school, children learn to lose it quickly because it doesn’t make them ‘cool’. Adults tend to ignore it and applaud evil especially if doing so gets them attention and if it gives them a feeling of ‘belonging’. Once innocence is contaminated, we lose touch with the goodness & love that we truly are and which the world direly needs to heal.
Whenever I find people hating on others and I try to get into a discussion with them, I often come to realise that it’s nothing but brokenness which causes it. They’re reflecting a part of themselves on others and are fervently trying to fight against it. I also discover that in trying to prove that one’s own suffering is more valid and important than that of the other, people often resolve to attacking each other instead of showing empathy, sympathy, and love.
One thing became clear to me this week: you often don’t fully understand people’s mentality and how they truly think until you read their SFDs or “Shitty First Drafts” (as Author Brené Brown puts it) or until you hear what they’re saying behind closed doors. If you want to know if someone truly wishes another person well, listen to what they’re saying in the absence of the other person. Watch closely how they respond when they’re being applauded for name-calling the other person. Observe how they behave when they’re suddenly getting major attention for it all. Yes, watch out for that gust of wind. It may even be a quick whiff but the smell is unmistakable.
But should such experiences make us lose our innocence and faith in mankind? The answer is a resounding NO. It might sound naive but the gateway to change lie in the inherent innocence each and every one of us carry within - a kind of love which makes no sense and knows no boundaries.
I’m thankful for the lessons learned this week. It put a lot into perspective for me. The sewer is still there. It’s sealed, and kept away, but from time to time, the wind reminds us of its content. There’s a lot of work yet to be done. No one is born evil and no one is born to hate. When people are broken inside, it makes them do, write, and say things which spew out evil and hate.
It takes just one person and one post to bring about darkness and get all the creatures crawling out. But it also takes one person, one post, or one comment to infuse light and dilute the darkness. Hate never wins, light will always shine forth in the end.
The core of every human being is total goodness and light. I’m grateful that especially in the midst of a pandemic, there are people who still have their hearts open and let their lights shine forth. Connecting with that aspect of one’s self on a regular basis is the real challenge. Are you willing to take on that challenge?