I sit and watch the world around us crumble. We see terrorists at home, with the recent attack on a Synagogue, we see it abroad in war-torn countries that force their own people to risk their lives to leave, and we see it everyday in our daily interactions of judgement and fear.

I am one person of many that witness this crumble, and I feel as though I can do nothing.

I can’t make the changes I want to see in the world as fast as I want to see them. I know there are ways to raise awareness and spread messages, but I wish I could see the world change right now.

However, there is one thing we can all do starting today that would take us one step further from chaos and closer to change, and it’s to listen.

I don’t agree with many beliefs that other people hold, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try to understand them. One of our biggest faults as people right now is our inability to at least try and understand others.

In the very least, we must try.

I’m not talking about politics either, but in our basic views of others. We see people different from us and our instinct is to stick to people that we identify with. We are afraid to go into uncomfortable situations, so we avoid them all together.

It’s very clear to anyone who looks around that the more differences we identify, the further detached we become from one another. We are no longer embracing these differences, as I was once taught to do. Instead, we fear them. This isn’t anything profound or new, yet we  seem to forget this idea so easily and continue to let divisive language influence how we treat others.

Instead of questioning someone and getting to the root of what makes them who they are, we categorize and stereotype. People ignore how we are similar and choose to look at the  boxes we have created instead of the character of individuals. There is no “benefit of the doubt” left.

We forget that people have bad days or lack of experience when judging them. We let one fact influence our opinion. A basic rule taught at a young age is to treat everyone with kindness. I think we tell ourselves that we shouldn’t place judgement on others, but continue to be hypocrites.

When we disagree we quickly jump to blaming and yelling. We create environments where change isn’t possible from the start. We equate disagreement with fighting, skipping right over constructive discourse. We forget that it is okay to disagree.

My fear is that this behavior is worse now more than ever. I don’t want to preach about how we need to be more open-minded or pretend that everyone can magically and happily get along, because we can’t.

But we can try to look for the universal truths within everyone. We can attempt empathy. We experience things that most people can relate too at their core.

Outside of politics, outside our identities, outside our tightly held beliefs and outside our various backgrounds, we have the ability to understand each other. We have to be willing to sacrifice our judgements to create the world that is far from this one we have today.

My only desire is that other people will read this and do the very thing I am writing about, and listen.