“Hope Springs Eternal”

So how’s everybody doing?

For me, it’s been emotionally tough lately. If you know me, I’m a pretty resilient cookie. So this proves that even the strongest among us grow weary sometimes. Even you; even me.

This past week has been especially mentally exhausting, not to mention unspeakably heartbreaking, with the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman. I also learned that a consultant and influencer who I greatly admired, succumbed to her battle with PTSD.

People are walking around with struggles that are often undetectable. We must do a better job of putting things into proper perspective, namely as it relates to the consumption of media stories, or the Internet in general. It’s not that the Internet is “bad.” “Bad” people have become masterful at dominating social platforms to spew their negativity, divisiveness, as well as their selfish, evil agendas. We must be smarter than them. And dare I say, we mustn’t allow ourselves to become them.

History is merely repeating itself. The saying that goes there is nothing new under the sun especially rings true today. People have been fighting wars since the beginning of time. The war starts within ourselves, before it becomes a contagious disease which infects others. History has already proven what happens when groups of people feel the strain of having their backs against the wall. History has also proven what happens when marginalized and oppressed people decide “no more.”

Humanity began the slow erosion into our lower selves when we felt the need to place labels, value, and even price tags on human lives. There is no need to label me if you believe me to be just like you. Or, you, just like me. Labels work best for advertisers or for marketing purposes. However, they do little to effectually improve the overall quality and meaning of a human life.

We live in a society where everyone wants to be seen at the same time. We would rather splinter off issues and jockey for position, versus working in solidarity on behalf of common issues. Collective work or Umoja doesn’t seem “enough”. Ideas and agendas have a better chance of success when there is unity. There is only one reason why unification is detrimental. Each of us is smart enough to surmise why, or to understand who or what benefits when we live like adversaries versus neighbors.

If we look within our own circles, most of us will realize that our families and friendship circles are rich with the fullness of diversity. Whether it be diversity in terms of race, religion, social class, ideas, and experiences. This is the point of living-to share the beautiful tapestry of our cultures, languages, traditions, food, and music with others.

When you meet someone for the first time, you assess whether there is a level of comfort, commonality/camaraderie, which could possibly lead to compatibility. Will we be able to hold a decent two-way conversation; are you sane and rational? Relationships (platonic, romantic, etc.), start at the most basic levels. Who you are matters more than what you are.

I encourage each you (of us), especially during these turbulent times, to be brave enough to engage others having a different point of view than your own. So long as there is mutual respect, two opposing views can be shared not for the purpose of a debate, but rather in the name of understanding and constructive dialogue. I will add a disclaimer to this recommendation by stating that we should only engage individuals capable of having a safe, mature, intelligent, and mutually respectful exchange of ideas. There is nothing to gain from vitriolic trolls, having minimal intelligence; ill-prepared, and only armed with inflammatory rhetoric that adds zero value to a healthy interaction. None of us should take on the responsibility of attempting to persuade or influence persons over the age of 18. As Earl Nightingale once said, “a man has right to be as wrong as he wants to be. It is not my place to correct him.”

These are challenging times, dear readers. Each of us are here at this very moment because we have the chutzpah to handle it. Please do not let strangers influence who or what matters in your life. Never give away your right to the manifestation of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Be well, and be careful out there.

“And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

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