How we can help Orlando...
“The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.” Mark Twain
This week, the mass shooting in Orlando rocked me to my core. Not even the only shooting in the city that weekend, this incident took the lives of 50 people and injured 53 more.
I knew I would write about it, I just didn't know what I could say that could do any good or make any difference.
Do I write about gun control and how much it's needed?
Do I write about ISIS?
Do I write about the targeting of the LGBT community?
Every time I thought about looking at what happened through one of these lenses, the pain I was already feeling got worse.
I felt anger at leaders who do nothing but offer prayers while continuing to accept contribution checks and marching orders from the NRA.
I felt disillusioned when hearing calls from people to use this incident as an excuse to enter a full blown war with Islam, even though the vast majority of Muslims worldwide are peaceful people.
I felt heartbreak at how much hate is targeted toward a group who are literally defined as members of that group by who they choose to love.
Then I heard the news that Omar Mateen, the man responsible for this huge loss of life, was most likely gay himself.
And my heart broke wide open.
Back in college, when I was researching my thesis, I read a study that showed that homophobic men were more likely to be gay.
It made sense to me - if I hate something about myself and someone else has or does the same thing in front of me, it pushes my buttons and triggers a response.
On the other hand, if I'm perfectly at peace with an aspect of myself and someone displays it, no buttons are pushed because I've disconnected the button's wires.
Yes, I wholeheartedly reject what Mateen did.
But how much must this young man have hated himself in order to justify in his mind what he did?
How many times must he have heard that he was wrong or evil for being attracted to other men?
How dark must it have been inside his head that he actually believed killing 50 people, and dying himself, would be a better solution than simply accepting himself for who he was?
To me, what we need to do to make sure something like this never happens again is to teach ourselves and our children radical self-acceptance. We all have things about ourselves that we dislike, even hate. But no good can ever come from that. Only by loving ourselves fiercely can enough space open in our hearts for change to happen.
It is time for all of us to look within our own hearts and love ourselves as much as possible. That love will radiate out and change the world. CLICK TO TWEET
We cannot hate enough to bring peace. We must begin with compassion and forgiveness - for people who do unspeakable things, for leaders we disagree with, and most of all, for ourselves.
How will you love and accept yourself more? Please share the love on our Facebook page. Because that's what we need more of right now.