As many of you this week, I have been trying to wrap my mind around the horrific news that came from Newtown, CT. I could not believe those words that popped up on my phone: “Breaking News: 20 children dead in school shooting”. My mouth dropped open. How can that be? But, it was only when I got home and saw pictures and video that I began to slowly sadden and get emotional. Thoughts started racing through my head and tears falling down my face. “How do you leave your baby at school and not go back to get them?”, “What are you thinking while you are driving back to that school without knowing if your child is dead or alive?”, “How do you even begin to process that your child is no longer alive?”.
Every time I see these things happening I go back to the old questions about people being innately good or bad, questioning religious beliefs and just getting one step closer to thinking the world will never get better. How can you think otherwise? I mean, if 20 1st graders can be killed in 10 minutes and have their hopes and dreams, as well as their parents’ hopes and dreams, disappear… how can you believe that “it’s because it was meant to be”?
I still don’t have an answer to this that gives me peace. But, it got me thinking about love. When I saw that father in tears talking about his little girl with such poise and able to even sympathize for the family of her shooter, first I thought “How?”, but then I saw the answer: LOVE. Unconditional love.
After the emotional turbulence caused by the news, the phenomena of social media about gun control started to pop up. Everyone has their different opinions, I have mine. But, I think we should all agree that these things don’t just happen because of mental illness, but also because of access to guns. But, not just the access to them, also the normalization of guns and violence that occurs in this society. People think it’s normal to own a gun. People think they need to own a gun. People want to protect themselves. And then, I thought… people are afraid.
How did we reach this point, where everyone is afraid of everyone else? Where people are hesitant when trying to reassure their kids that the world is a safe place. It´s a vicious cycle. People get hurt, they stop trusting others, they turn into themselves because of fear and stop expressing genuine empathy, trust and love. Our society has lost the principles of love, caring and trusting others. They think there is always someone out to get them.
But, even if we come down from the general society level and begin thinking about our personal lives, it is also there. People afraid of giving their love to others, with fear of getting hurt; neighbors creating boundaries, because they do not want to get overly involved; some parents afraid to truly enjoy their children, because the anxiety about everything else in the world does not allow them too.
And then there was the answer: fear is blocking people from love. The world is a more fearful place and less of a loving place. Not that I think that people are innately bad (answering my question from above), but that people are just more fearful. And I am also not saying you should be gullible, either, but not as defensive.
It seems like there is such a simple solution: let´s love more! But, getting rid of fear, though, is so hard…
You can’t change everyone around you. You can’t change the world. But, you can change yourself. No, we can’t reassure to our kids that the world is a magical and safe place. But, we shouldn’t install fear in them, either. Show them love, show them trust, show them joy. That’s what they will know and want to show others. And, like a chain, other people are affected by these positive emotions.
Let’s not hide under the bed or behind our fears and find the courage to express our love every day. To our kids, to our family, to our friends, to the clerk at the supermarket. If people don’t want it, that’s their problem, not yours. It shouldn’t be seen as a rejection that makes you not want to show love again. But, just as a sign that that person is not ready to accept positive emotions in their lives.
Show some unconditional love today. At least you can go to bed knowing that you made the world a better place.