5 Things You’re Saying That Are Ruining America
How are your words making your world a better place?
Your words carry weight. Language has value. I can say these things and we all agree, but how much are we really listening to the words coming out of our own mouths? The polarity of our nation (and the world) comes from somewhere. And instead of blaming someone else, I think it’s about time we all self-reflect on how our language is making a world we may not want to live in. So without further ado, let’s look at some well-meaning language traps that may be ruining the country.
1. “If people we’re just more well-informed…”
If you’re using this phrasing or bashing someone’s ability to discern truth, you’re pointing your fingers in the wrong direction. Information and Truths with a capital T are abundant in our world. To claim that you have the “right” one and that someone else has the “wrong” one is just furthering the divide. Anyone can publish anything on the internet and it doesn’t make it any more or less correct. When we write off what someone is trying to communicate as “misinformation” or “fake news”, what we’re really saying is, “I don’t believe what you’re saying and I don’t care enough to try and learn more about perspectives other than my own”- and really what sort of functioning democracy does that level intolerance give us?
2. “It’s ____’s fault.”
When you point a finger at someone, you’re really pointing three back at yourself (really, try it and you’ll see). Blaming someone is an easy defense. When we can isolate our issues and hand them off to another person, we feel free from the burden of responsibility. But the problem here is that the burden is only temporarily lightened. While you may feel better when you blame someone, the world doesn’t get better because you did. Personal responsibility and humility are the way we move the world forward. We all need to look within ourselves and decide how we can contribute to making our country more like the one we want to live in.
3. “I don’t care.”
If instead of engaging in dialogue about our ever-changing world, you decide to stick your fingers in your ears and sing the tune of ambivalence, you’re also contributing to the chaos. Indifference is a privilege. So many Americans don’t have a choice to simply not care about their world. When we say that “we just don’t care about that stuff” or “we don’t watch the news”, what we’re really saying is, “there are real-world issues out there that I’ve decided aren’t my emotional burden”. The truth is you should care. Caring about the world around you is humane, kind, and compassionate. Just because something doesn’t have an immediate impact on your life doesn’t mean it’s not something worth caring about. That sort of egocentric thinking has never made the world a better place. Caring about someone else doesn’t make you weak.
4. “It’ll always be this way.”
When we’re hopeless, we’re manifesting a world unable to change. Imagination is the human superpower. Thinking outside the box, of solutions that could positively impact the world in amazing ways, first takes hope. If you’re walking around with a chip on your shoulder and a hefty dose of nihilism, you’re not doing your part. For the world to be a better place we all need to get in touch with our most creative and optimistic selves and find the strength and hope to fight another day. Don’t make it other people’s responsibility to excite you. Stop waiting for something to motivate you into action. You can begin caring about the world the second you decide to.
5. You don’t ask questions.
Sometimes it’s less about what you do say, and more about what you don’t. Genuine, curious questions are how people learn from others unlike themselves. If you don’t understand something, your responsibility is to ask questions and seek understanding. That means that if someone has a different perspective than yours the compassionate move is to try and figure out why and how they came to that conclusion. Making assumptions and talking over people won’t get us any closer to a middle ground. Decreasing polarity in our world starts with someone taking the leap to try and find a more peaceful middle ground.