We all struggle with discovering who we are and what we want to be when we grow up. Usually as children what we want to be is defined by a profession. When I was three I proclaimed that I was going to be a veterinarian. I don’t recall giving any thought to what kind of human I wanted to be.
Now, in my fifties there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what kind of human I want to be. How I am in the world is just as important as what I do. Maybe now, even more important. I look out at the world and in this twenty-four-hour news cycle and on-demand frenzy, I see so many horrible things happening. I worry about how these images and words are impacting developing minds. I worry about it tremendously. Yet, I am hesitant to discuss this with others. I don’t want to impose upon others. People have the right to their opinions and to voice their opinions, however they wish. But with rights come consequences. I can choose to use my power of speech for good or a can use it to degrade and to harm. Either way I choose, my actions will have consequences. Those consequences may be immediate or felt decades later.
Somehow it seems we have come to believe that disagreeing with one another is bad. We have fallen into the trap of believing that a different view-point is wrong and has no worth. At worst we make harsh judgements about those that believe differently from us. Yet, if we all thought the same way, we would not have innovation. I do not know how we can have a healthy discourse when we hold these beliefs. How can we ever solve the problems that our world is facing if we cannot talk, disagree, respectfully hear each other’s point of view, and combine all of our knowledge?
Sometimes I think we forget that words are powerful. They shape minds, shape beliefs, connect us or separate us. Each of us has the power to impact change just by minding our words. Each moment of every day the choices we choose impact not only us but those around us. We can choose connection over disconnection. We can choose kindness over hurt. We can choose respect over hate. The power is in the choice and it is for each of us to mindfully make. What will you choose?