...when a child is ripped from their parent's arms in a horrible accident, we don’t choose empathy.
...when 49 victims are killed in a deadly attack for being exactly who they are, we don’t choose love.
...when 20 children and 6 adults die in a deadly school shooting by someone mentally unstable, we don’t choose to act.
We choose to go through a vicious cycle of narcissism online long enough to remain “trendy” before moving on to the next thing that allows us to feel — in this we choose our collective egos.
The horror, anger, sympathy, memes of support, hashtags, prayers, thoughts, political statements, blame, excuses, celebration of the perpetrators, ignorance of the victims, blaming the victims, blaming the parents, demands for action, demands for punishment, and memes in emotional-fueled response to political statements. Finally, approbation from our friends who agree, vitriol from those who disagree, and on.
None of which do anything EXCEPT draw attention to ourselves. We choose love — of ourselves — far too often where we claim to choose compassion and empathy.
To truly relieve suffering, we must choose to truly suffer with others, to ultimately bring to life compassion when it is needed most. As a nation, we’ve become complacent in regards to our responsibility to each other. We can disagree, but that does not abdicate our responsibility to act.
It’s time to choose love. It’s time to agree that we don’t want more people to die in senseless ways and work together to find a way to prevent the senseless being possible. Talk about how to solve for love without fear - of being attacked, of losing control, or of being shut down.
Put the internet down. Instead of posting on Facebook or Twitter, reach out to someone affected face to face. Volunteer with an organization with real people in real time. Respond with compassion to someone else’s suffering, listen to what they have to say. Most importantly, begin to see the world through someone else’s eyes — because that’s how we repair our society.
“Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.” ~ Mary Oliver