Sunday, 2 April 2017

Change your Perception and you Change the World

Tree shaped like a heart.
I attended a funeral of someone very dear to me on Wednesday This post isn't about sympathy and with all due respect, I don't want your sympathy and I don't want you to take this initial message as the actual message behind this post.

At the ceremony, in the crematorium and at the pub, I saw a community come together. There was no black/white, gay/straight, young/old binary divides. Everyone had tears in their eyes at some stage. I bit down on my lip trying to stop my own tears but it was near impossible. This was a woman that touched our hearts, changed our paths and transformed our lives and brought laughter and joy into our lives.

Everyone in that room had one thing in common: we were all there to show our live for some who had infinite love for all. We were brought together by love and understanding, compassion and celebration of a life that transcended so much. And in this moment, I had a thought. No one was thinking about prejudice (racism, homophobia, transphobia etc.). We weren't caught up with binary oppositions. It was our compassion and capacity to love, develop and understand that shone.

There are people out there that will carry their prejudices like emblems, like badges of honour and while some of these understand the hatred in their words, the vitriol that they poison future generations with, others do not. They are ignorant to the harm they cause. When they are shouted at on Twitter and attacked, their points are proven but if we show compassion to understand their point of view and ask questions to make them think, we can change perceptions. And if we cannot do this, if our fire and arguments fail, we can channel our energies into productive projects to further develop our own goals and the change we want to see. If we allow ourselves to be caught up in a viscous, cyclical process with a beginning and no end, we face frustration and emotional blocks that dam our positive energies, our capacity to love and our ability to bring about change.

At the risk of sounding morbid, our ultimate destination is the ground. Our compassion should be our common ground and if we can't approach things with compassion and try to encourage others with which we debate with to be compassionate, then we debase ourselves to their level.

I guess what I'm trying to say is to show love. Show understanding and compassion even in the face of adversity. Fighting fire with fire makes you that which you oppose and when we sling mud back and forth, we'll all get muddy and it's difficult to separate who is right and who is wrong. Our message is important and feels right to us but our approach is what can change opinion and instigate change. Do not comprise your integrity or compassion when you engage with thoughts you disagree with. It's incredibly difficult. It's not always easy; in fact, it's hardly ever easy but we need to be our best selves to change the world around us for the better.

Lena, you've thought me this if nothing else, in life and in death. Wherever you are, I hope you're at peace. Love always.

Christopher Moore:

Christopher is a co-founder of the YAfictionados blog (@YAfictionados). He's currently working on his debut LGBT YA novel. When he's not reading, writing or blogging, he can found in coffee shops or baking in his kitchen (watch out for his book cookies!). He loves to travel and will read anything YA-related and some general fiction and fantasy.