The news is everywhere. If you didn’t know Jussie Smollett’s name two months ago, you certainly do now. What started as a message of strength, resilience, and unity quickly turned into thoughts on greed, division, and deceit. But if there’s anything good that can come of this whole alleged hoax, what is it and how can we apply it to our daily lives? We can’t be left thinking the world is full of greedy liars who will do anything for fame.
I have spent years researching the human connection, and I think we should look for lessons from the world around us, and current events such as this; lessons that we should all take in to our day to day living:
1) Lies Begin the Moment We Try to Make Something Look Different than It Is: We were outraged by the level of alleged deception by Jussie Smollett. It was horrifying to think that someone would go to that length to create a false reality. But in reality, many of us do this every day in small ways. Oh, it’s just a filter on a photo, but it can become a slippery slope without awareness – soon it’s body adjusting images, then it’s smiling selfies of a couple kissing (two seconds after a huge fight off camera as one Instagram celebrity reported) then it’s exaggerated stories of things that happened to drum up likes or sympathy, what’s next? Unfortunately Jussie Smollett may have shown us the worst of it. We need to embrace and love our everyday ho-hum realities of life, and not strive for some kind of status. Let’s begin being more honest, more real in all that we do, small as it may seem.
2) We are a Very Integral Part of a Large, Magnificently Made Whole, We are Not the Entire Universe Ourselves: The selfie generation is not just about the young ones making duck faces at their phones. It’s about the idea that I am the center of the world, and “me me me” syndrome that we all fall victim to from time to time. If we think of the impact our life has on others, and care about others deeply, Jussie Smollett wouldn’t have allegedly used valuable resources for personal gain. There is something called the dual-life value. It’s innate in all of us as human beings and basically states “I value my life and I value yours.” The value is in our human nature, and when used as designed, we care about others just slightly more than we care about ourselves. That’s why we wouldn’t generally think twice about jumping in front of a moving car to save another human being, it’s instinct triggered by our dual-life value. However, in recent years, the value seems very misaligned causing “misfires”. Those who value others far more than selves slip into martyrdom and complete lack of self care, depression, and so forth; those who value self far more than others can misfire into narcissism – this means you wouldn’t dare go near a burning building to save another’s life and hurting others for personal gain happens without conscience. We must recalibrate this value, especially when we have forgotten the value of others lives, even slightly. The best way to do that is in service of others, as the documentary “Serving Life” taught us how to rehabilitate the hearts of criminal who at one time could care less about the lives they took.
3) Just Be Kind: There should be no reason or room for hate in America today. When Jussie’s story was first released, we should have all felt a collective ache in our hearts that anybody would treat another human being this way. It should not take a celebrity to make us feel heartbroken by a person wrongly treated. This happens every day in small ways in our society, whether it be in school or the workplace or even in our cars. If We Only Knew each other’s hearts, we would realize we are all the same. It’s not hard to be kind, and creates zero drama. Most hardened hearts are caused by past hurts, so if someone isn’t being kind, don’t meet them at their level. Respond don’t react, and make kindness your response. It’s who we are, who we were born to be, and it’s what we all simply crave, which is love.