With all this hatred and fear and chaos going on in the American Elections … and in the EU … and the Middle East …and North Korea and France and Russia and Africa (my goodness), I feel like humanity has allowed misanthropy to win. Although I know that sensationalism in the media plays a large part in my stress and anxiety, what this is ultimately teaching me is that, at the end of it all, I just want to be a good person and treat others with dignity and kindness and compassion. To keep doing what is right even when the world turns its back on these values, or pretends not to.
We are taught that being good doesn’t make headlines.
We are taught that being good doesn’t make headlines. That making positive contributions means nothing unless a celebrity endorses it. When what you build and buy is defined as success, how can we expect people to live humble lives dedicated to the advancement of all people? I’ve heard parents say that their priorities change when they have children. A shift of focus from self to others. But this seems so rare, even though everyone has a parent.
Narcissism is a modern demon.
For me, when I am challenged to chose between the set of principles I was raised on, and the values I am force fed constantly by the media and by negative figures on TV, I try to stop and reflect. Remember the good. Remember why I am so fortunate.
I have been so fortunate to be raised in a country where people can get angry over issues many would consider are ‘minor’ from a global perspective. A country with top global freedom, health, education and happiness levels. A country where the people expect the government to help refugees, victims of poverty and abuse, and the environment. Our motto is, this is not our land, we share this world, and if you have the opportunity to lend a hand – you give two.
I’m fortunate that I have received a good education. That intelligence is valued, but never more so than integrity. I am fortunate to have a sense of humour, which helps me relate to many people and see the lighter side of negative situations. I am fortunate to have been raised with both conservative and liberal viewpoints so that I can make up my own mind. I am fortunate that I was also raised with Anglican values (a non persecuted sector of faith), have a best friend who is Muslim, a brother who is gay, and because of this, have more empathy for people who are targets of hate. I am fortunate that I can dream, I can write, I can speak my mind. I am fortunate that my gender will no longer predetermine my lot in life, even though I believe there is so much more to achieve with equality.
I am so fortunate to have been raised in a lower middle class family – where I never was so poor I struggled to survive, but I was still poor enough to recognise the struggle my parents went through to get me the best in life. I am so lucky to have a family who, despite our differences, has always challenged and expected great things of me. A family that I can look up to in awe, but one that is human, breaks one another’s hearts but also is extremely proud, loyal and sticks up for one another.
I am so fortunate.
And because of all this, I will never give up. I will never forget. I will keep doing what is right. Because most people in this world are not as fortunate as me, and if I don’t do anything for the sake of them, who will? If the world is taken over by extremism, dictatorship or even internet trolls, and if I am killed (literally or metaphorically) for it, I hope I can look back on my existence with no regrets, no shame, and no dishonour in how I lived my life. I will keep doing what is right.
We need more optimism. We need more faith in do-gooders. We need to let go of cynicism. We need to keep doing what is right.