This weekend’s terrorist attacks in Paris left many of us around the world wondering what our responsibility is in the wake of such a horrific event.
As a citizen of this world, who wants to do good by the rest of humanity, I find myself asking, “What can I do?”
I’m sure many of you have had similar thoughts.
Feelings of guilt seep into your mind as you see your facebook newsfeed filled with blue, white and red profile photos, in support of the Parisian people.
The first reaction you may have had was probably one of two experiences.
Experience one: You thought to yourself, “Hey that seems like the right thing to do - I’ll change my photo as well.”
Experience two: You thought to yourself, “It doesn’t make a difference if I change my photo and anyone who does is just calling attention to themselves so they don’t feel guilty.”
Both experiences are just that: experiences. Neither is good or bad, they are both just simply reactions.
What is bad is condemning other people for their choice to either publicly display support or not.
For just as much support as I’ve seen for the people of Paris, I’ve also seen the dark side of events like these.
I’ve seen the vultures peer their ugly heads out, and pessimistically put down people on social media for trying to show support after the attacks.
I’ve seen politicians try to use this event as another excuse to push their political agendas regarding gun laws.
I’ve seen the self-righteous take this as an opportunity to call more attention to causes they believe should be getting more attention.
And the rest of us? Well, we’re left wondering what it is that we can do to make any of this better.
What is our personal responsibility?
Let’s start by reflecting upon the famous words of Martin Luther King, Jr:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
So, your responsibility is to be that light.
Your responsibility is to practice unconditional love in your everyday life.
And above all else, your responsibility is to pursue your own life’s purpose.
Events like this should be a reminder to you that life on planet earth is a finite experience.
But while you’re here, people need you. If you live in Paris right now and you either are or want to get involved in politics or other social welfare projects, this would be affirmation to start or continue to pursue that mission.
If you are living elsewhere and have no affiliation to the events that occurred, it’s time to take a look inward.
Life’s greatest and most fulfilling experience is one of contribution.
Of making life better for others.
So how in your life are you doing that right now?
In what ways are you contributing to make things better for others?
Do you have a compelling purpose for your own life?
These are heavy questions, but this is the time to ask them.
If you know your purpose, stay relentlessly focused in your pursuit of whatever is calling you.
If you feel empty when asking yourself that question, this is a wake up call to find out what your life’s purpose is.
Every person on this planet is significant, every person matters, every person has a unique contribution to give the world.
It’s your job to identify what that purpose is, so you can be a part of the revolution that will drive out hate from this world and usher in love.
I can imagine there will be quite a few people who may read this, and still think to themselves that this is a too idealistic view of the world.
People will think the evil events that have taken place must be combatted with hatred and violent action from every one of the world’s citizens.
Well, in regards to that particular perspective, I think we’ve all seen how well that’s worked out for humans over the past 200,000 years.
If you really want to make a significant contribution to humanity at large after an event like this, look inward.
Ask yourself if you are pursuing your life’s purpose.
If not, it’s time to step up, and stop taking the life you’ve been gifted for granted.