Not who you are

Photo by kalei peek on Unsplash

After three years of a pandemic that drained even the luckiest among us, another major conflict is unfolding. Because there wasn’t enough conflict and suffering in the world. Or poverty. Or enough refugees.

It was late at night when I saw the first post on social media about troops having gone into the Ukraine. I sat on the side of my bed, holding my phone, as if I needed to rest while carrying an enormous backpack filled with rocks. And started crying.

Even with an understanding of circumstances, motives and psychology, when something awful happens around us, we can’t help asking “why”. Because the thought of deliberately hurting anyone and being ok with it is incomprehensible.

My entire life I kept hearing (and often said it myself) “well, that’s how life is, that’s how people are”.

Bullshit.

From the global to the personal…no, that’s not how life is or how people are. That’s how people choose to be, and therefore that’s the kind of life they create.

Let the one without sin throw the first stone. Always on my mind, so I’m not throwing any stones here.

But let’s be real. Mistakes are mistakes. Deliberate hurt, refusal to learn, grow and do better, lack of compassion, living only from the ego, focusing determination on wins and being right at any cost, greed for power and wealth at the expense of everything else…these are not mistakes.

Yes, every soul has its path and everyone has a story and reasons. We’re all flawed, hurt, traumatized, challenged, afraid. But we’re not all monsters without a conscience. Or unwilling to learn and do better. Or insisting on cutting our nose to spite our face.

And yes, we are who we are, with things we can not change at the core of our personality, our history. But by god, we can learn and evolve. We can educate ourselves even a little, and do better.

Nobody can tell me that unless one is severely mentally ill, there isn’t an awareness of right and wrong. Or that people don’t see the damage they do, the trail of corpses, literally or metaphorically speaking, they leave behind on their path through life.

Being a monster is a choice. It’s not who you are, it’s not who I am.

We will all make mistakes until our last breath. But our imperfections and the fact that we have room to learn and grow is not an excuse to live without a heart or a conscience today…right here, right now.

Not an excuse to mindlessly and repeatedly use and abuse others.

Not an excuse to remain stubborn and ungenerous, to nurture toxic habits, to ignore the lessons we were given, and refuse to lift a finger towards change.

Not an excuse for abhorrent behaviors in our personal lives. Not an excuse to invade countries who don’t present any threat.

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