It’s a great time to be a pessimist. School shootings, ISIS, police brutality, changes in government, rapid climate change – who can avoid the feeling that the world is completely falling apart?
As troubling as recent headlines in the news may be, we shouldn’t be discouraged. Humanity should use this opportunity to come together as a whole. All of the different genders, sexual orientations, genders, religions, ages and nationalities have one thing in common: we are all human.
Instead of criticizing each other for our differences, we can come together to have a more united, powerful and productive world. Achieving peace in society starts with you.
Pause on Judgement
Bringing people together means meeting people where they are. This is what therapists are trained to do. Instead of judging the person for being where they are, we should come into their space and relate to them as best as we can. You do not know what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes, to have lived their life, or the situations they have been exposed to. For example, if you are someone who is an activist for women’s rights you might struggle to not judge someone who is sexist. Instead of pushing them away, try to understand why they got that way or how their experiences may have shaped them into that mindset. When you can meet someone where they are without judgement, you can begin to see them as other humans instead of only seeing their differences. This is where amazing transformations begin and peace can form.
Look at a Wide Range of News Sources
Newsreaders are almost always going to perceive that they live in dangerous times. The media is constantly pushing out the most sensational, heartbreaking stories because it helps get the highest ratings. However, by looking at a wide range of news sources you will begin to notice that it isn’t all bad. There are amazing stories every day of people coming together for ultimate acts of kindness. The news never comes out and says “this country didn’t go to war today.” They are always talking about the negatives that are happening. So despite so many amazing things in the world, it isn’t always mentioned. Watching the news with a critical mind and researching stories will help us have an open-mind that is informed. Seeing many various news sources also gives us knowledge about other viewpoints we might not have known otherwise.
Seek to Understand Other Cultures and Viewpoints
One of the best ways to find peace with other people is by understanding their cultures and viewpoints. The saying that “knowledge is power” is so true! When we are knowledgeable about different ideas, philosophies, religions, etc. we are more likely to understand why those people think a certain way. This helps us to move past our differences and be more respectful of others. Learning about our differences can also be fun, too. You might learn something you can apply to your own life and use.
Understand You’re Not Always Right
This might be one of the hardest things to overcome. Humans are predisposed to have a “me, me, me” mentality. This really hinders our ability to admit when we are wrong. When someone presents their own culture or viewpoint, we automatically think it is wrong simply because it’s different from ours or what we know. Just because you were raised a certain way or believe a certain thing doesn’t mean that it’s right. It also doesn’t mean that it’s the only way. Sometimes, we have to look inward at our own biases if we want to overcome differences and find peace.
Differences Are Beneficial
If everyone was the same, there would be absolutely no progress in the world. It would be boring and static. Without growth, we could not be the society we are today. The experiences people go through in life lead them to do amazing and great things later on. Think about yourself for a moment. What life transitions did you go to that led you to where you are now? Could you have gotten to the same point if you were born in another country? How about if you were a different race? Probably not, because your life would be completely different. These differences in lifestyles are incredibly important for advancing society.
World peace seems so hard to achieve, but it really starts with the individual. Humans have to recognize that while others are different than them, they are still human. We have that original common bond that we should focus on. Instead of fighting each other for being different, we should unite and stand together as a human race.