Did you ever imagine to find yourself where you are now? Are you working in an environment that is not aligned to your values and beliefs? Do you find yourself patiently queuing whilst everyone else is jumping ahead? Are you frustrated with the injustice going on around you and no one speaks out? Every day, we sell ourselves short, whether its through enduring service at a restaurant that is unpleasant, to accepting behaviours at work, day in day out, that you could never have imagined you would have tolerated.
Why oh why do we become so accepting of this pain and suffering? Is change so awful that it is better to suffer in pain than to do something about it? Did we ever dream as children that we would become so worn down that we would accept such injustices?
I remember as a child, thinking I was really special, different, and that I was here for a greater purpose. As I grew older, that feeling wore away and before I knew it, I had been assimilated and was working hard to fit in and conform. I am convinced that we all had those feelings when we were young. Yet as we go through life, they are dampened down until eventually, they whither and die.
Last weekend, I went to see the film, ’12 Years a Slave’. I had no idea how powerful a film that was going to be. At the end, the whole of the auditorium was full of people crying, full of people in pain. How could human beings cause so much pain and suffering to one another? The slave trade like the holocausts and countless injustices all over the world, demonstrated how a collection of people, through torture and pain, could be worn down to feel so helpless and powerless that they accepted the intolerable practices of a few, on the many.
After the film, I couldn’t help but wonder whether in life, whilst the horrific injustices are no longer present, have we exchanged the cotton farms for the working conditions in corporate life? Have we exchanged torture and pain through physical harm, to office politics causing mental harm to each other? That hope that we felt as children, for a better world, is still within us all. Many thousands of people all over the world, gave their lives that we may live in a free world. The hopelessness you may feel, may be just that, a perception that needs testing. Just like the baby elephant tied to a stump. As they grow older, they assume the same stump will stop them getting away, so they don’t even try.
We must never sell ourselves short. Everyone deserves the right to better their life. Everyone deserves the right to dignity and we are all equal. If you are dissatisfied with any part of your life, the question is, what are you going to do about it? For we are not helpless and we must never accept that ‘this is our lot’. The best of humanity comes out when we need it most, and human history is scattered with people like Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and countless others. They were born just like us. They decided that we were worth more and did something about it. May we never see the injustices that the generations before us endured. I cannot begin to imagine how they coped. To honour our past, we must ensure we make the most of our present. We must make sure we never sell ourselves short and make the most of this wonderful life, together…