"Be the change you wish to see in the world," Mahatma Gandhi famously said.
Change is constant. Some even say that it's the only constant in life. Change is not an event, change is a process. One would be forgiven to think that because change happens ever so often it is easily accepted. As history has shown, most people are very resistant of change. Take a look at the dark ages, the women's rights movement, the gay and queer pride movement, civil rights movements, slavery, racism, white privilege and so many other examples, I cannot possibly include them all here. So many lives have been lost resisting change, which leads one to wonder; if change is such an integral part of life, why do we resist it so?
I remember when the doctor told me that I was lactose intolerant. I knew what that meant. It meant that I had to stop taking all products related to dairy. No milk, no yoghurt, no cheese, no butter, no ghee, no whipped cream...nothing dairy at all. Did I stop? No. Even though I experienced bloating and stomach discomfort and skin breakouts, I didn't stop. I loved milk and I didn't want to give that up. I had milk in my morning cup of tea and I had maziwa mala (fermented milk) with my ugali (boiled cornmeal) at night, as most Kenyans do. Every Kenyan can tell you that mala does make ugali go down sweeter, as does meat (at least the ones without lactose intolerance can). My point is that change is hard. Most of us lack the patience to go along with long processes, and change is a long process. Physics knows this as the law of inertia: things in motion tend to stay in motion and things at rest tend to stay at rest. According to psychology, the root cause of why most people resist change because they of fear of the unknown. Generally speaking, everyone wants change but no one wants to change. Just like everyone wants to go to heaven(insert any other popular after-death destination that resonates with your faith or lack thereof) but no one wants to die.
Rick Godwin said that one reason people resist change is that they focus on what they have to give up rather than what they have to gain. I was focusing on what I had to give up (milk) instead of what I had to gain (no bloating, no stomach discomfort, no skin breakouts). I didn't want to go looking for milk substitutes because I didn't know if I'd find any that would warm my heart the way milk did and I really wasn't willing to find out. Here's the thing though: it was okay for me to not want to give up dairy. I was well within the Bill of human rights and freedoms. But you know what isn't right? Me forcing other people to drink milk because I love milk or me forcing other people to not drink milk because I can't drink milk. My right to raise my hand ends where the other person begins. And that is what most people fail to acknowledge.
It doesn't matter what colour you are or how much money you have or where you were born or even what your religious beliefs are, each and every person is entitled to their rights and freedoms. Every single person
deserves to eat, drink, learn, sleep, love, have access to health care...you get where I'm going with this. It doesn't matter what faith you subscribe to, bullying someone because they do not fit into your little box is wrong. Using your faith as a means of persecution is wrong. YOUR RIGHT TO RAISE YOUR HAND ENDS WHERE THE OTHER PERSON BEGINS, so don't go around bullying people and citing your freedom of expression. Please, do us all a favour and read your holy book extensively, especially the part where it says to love EVERYONE.
Bullying is not a manifestation of love. This also applies to atheists, even though they have no 'holy book'. This applies to everyone. Every single person out there treating someone differently just because they do not fit into the little boxes we have created in our heads. I am talking about that skinny person bullying a fat person just because they're not skinny. I am talking about that fat person bullying a skinny person just because 'plus size is the new in-thing'. I am talking about that person bullying someone with mental illness. I am talking about
that person bullying another person because they are of different religions. I am talking about that Christian bullying an atheist. I am talking about that atheist bullying a Christian. I am talking about that straight person bullying that LGBTQ person. I am talking about that LGBTQ person bullying that straight person. I am talking about that cis-person bullying that trans-person. I am talking about that trans-person bullying that cis-person. I am talking about that non-POC bullying a POC. I am talking about a POC bullying a non-POC. I am talking to that male person bullying that female person. I ma talking to that female person bullying that male person. Feel free to add any category that I have not mentioned. There's way to much animosity going on in the world simply because we are all stuck in our ways and we are intimidated by change. It's high time we learn to accommodate each other. It's high time for positive action.
So take some time out of your social construct. Have a deep and meaningful conversation with someone outside your social construct. Ask yourself how it really feels to be them. Have you ever thought of the challenges they go through? Learn something new from every person you meet. Be kind, play nice. Buy something from that small business owner in your neighbourhood. Go to a library and read a book. Read the Bill of Human Rights and Freedoms while you're at it. Discover you're life's purpose. Start seeing everyone as a human being with thoughts and feelings. Do something good for someone else. Help out wherever you can. Rest adequately. Break your routine every now and then. Be the change you wish to see in the world.