**Warning, these are my own views. I’m just sharing them!**

This was a hard blog post to write. I must have erased and rewrote it quite a few times – but alas, I had to get my thoughts out and onto paper (metaphorically). Throughout the last few years, I’ve felt the pressure of inequality and segregation. No matter how respectful and decent I’ve been, its made absolutely no difference in how I’ve been treated by a few people. Without going into too much detail, I’ve become classified as someone who is outside of the ‘us’ category and placed into the ‘them’ category. For that reason, a very important relationship in my life has had a rocky road by no fault of its own – its been absolutely wonderful in and of itself! I honestly can’t say enough how happy and how lucky I am to have this special person in my life. Even though we’ve both had some tough times – I wouldn’t trade it for anything else this cosmos has to offer. Unfortunately, and irregardless, I’ve had some rather terrible things that are completely unfounded said about me to others in my life. For the sole sake of peace, I’ve had to just suck up and bury them all.

It’s difficult in this position of being hated for who you are to remain neutral, respectful, caring and loving. A person’s first knee-jerk reaction is to immediately push back and enter into the conflict itself (I’ve definitely been there). Some people might say that I’m being disrespectful to myself by not doing so – and they may very well be somewhat correct. Unfortunately, sometimes these situations aren’t as clear cut as one might assume. In my case, I’m excluded for my beliefs alone. It’s caused me some very long nights, some internal conflicts, some fights that I would have rather not been a part of, and some rather memorable situations that I wish I wasn’t the target of.

I know others have fallen into this category as well. Some may generalize from a minority to a majority, and use the actions of a select few to justify ideologies that are flat out wrong. As an emotional being, its easy to take my situation and project it outwards to the general population – but that would be completely biased, irresponsible and utterly subjective. Not only that, but it does greater harm than it does good. Most people, in fact, are decent and caring people who want nothing more than peace, equality and great life for as many others as possible. Those negative views only fit smaller groups, and that’s important to remember. We’re not all as the media or outspoken people paint us, and people are probably not at all what you may originally believe.

Personally, it sucks that I have to deal with trying situations that put me in spots where I’m forced to sit between self-respect, and genuine decency as a human being. The middle ground is so hard to find, that I find myself drifting towards one end when I would really rather not. In fact, the pressure that it’s had on my own morality is what has caused me more discomfort  than anything. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario. These points in my life have been some of the hardest I’ve ever experienced and yet, here I stand still believing that most people (regardless of culture, religion or anything else) are still deserving of kindness. As such, I try hard to treat everyone as I would like to be treated myself. Do I enjoy the feeling of segregation? No, absolutely not – so why segregate others? After thinking about it for so long, I choose to have enough respect for myself to stand above my personal situation and remain outside of the issue itself. I understand and completely empathize that everyone has different upbringings, experiences, and views – I just want the same respect and understanding I show in return.

One of Gandhi’s famous quotes (and one that is one of my all time favorites) is to “…be the change you wish to see in the world.” You might very well believe in something, but your beliefs don’t change situations unless you follow through with actions. If equality is important to you, then stand up for those who have no choice but be treated as unequals. If freedom is something you believe everyone should share, then use the freedom you have to untie those who cannot free themselves. Be the change you want to see. Treat others in the exact same way you would like them to treat you, and remember that everyone is human. You may have to take some bullets for the sake of peace and love, but try your best to be someone you’re proud to be, rather than someone you’d rather not fall sleep at night being disappointed in. Putting someone else ahead of yourself is not easy, and perhaps genes really are selfish. But we as humans don’t have to listen to our genes. We can be anyone we want to be, and act however we want to act. We can be awesome people and we can choose to be a part of positive change, or we can choose to be part of the problem. Its a choice, not a hardwired component of our biology. In that same sense, you’re responsible for your own actions, and you decide solely who you want to be at the end of the day.

Us, and them, is a total flaw in our current state of society. Whether you’re religious, non-religious, rich, poor, of different skin tone, of different social standings, of a different culture or anything of the like – you’re a person just like anyone else. We all share this planet, we all share our lives, and we all are the only people making our home a great, or terrible place to live in. No one should have to endure long nights due to unjust or unfortunate situations because someone else lacks the decency to see past their own wrongdoings.

No one should have to face their own self-respect and choose to let it fall away in order to be kind to others who are not kind to them. No one should have to wake up in unfortunately circumstances for things they can’t change on their own, simply because other people would rather prosper. No one should be condemned or slandered based on their own beliefs. No country should face conflict on behalf of a few people. Lastly, no one should categorize general populations, or force their own views on anyone else.

Live by the golden rule and be the change you want to see in the world. It’s so simple, yet its so difficult to have the valor and integrity to live by it. I know its not easy, and I know I’m definitely not a model citizen when it comes to living my own preaching. I make a real effort every single day to uphold it, and I can honestly say I’m happier having done so. I get to look back at myself and know that I’m not part of something that has personally cause me pain in the past. If everyone took a moment to walk in the shoes of others – they’d realize the only difference, is in fact, the shoes themselves.

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