A sneak peek into my second book, Our True Colors.
This is my passion, focus, and my dream—to promote peace among all people. My first book, Permanent Happiness, is about finding and maintaining inner personal peace, which eventually translates into community peace. My second book, Our True Colors, now with my editor, is about tackling human divisions.
Since I published my first book, I’ve been asked this question a lot: Where are you going with these books? What’s your ultimate plan? These have been my answers: If I can inspire five young girls or young women to be the best they can be and to impart in them that all they really need to thrive lies within their innermost beings, I would have done my job with my books. Because societies where women are strong and have a voice are societies that truly thrive.
It so happens that I did that quickly. I’ve inspired several young girls and women since my book was published, and their testimonials and mentoring requests are what keep me going.
So now I have a bigger goal, a bigger dream. I want to be a voice and advocate for world peace. So my answer has changed to this: I’d like to promote personal peace and happiness in individuals, and I’d like to see world peace come to fruition in my lifetime.
Many react with skepticism, sometimes with chuckling—that I must be joking—believing that there can be world peace. Many think is a tall order, an insurmountable task.
I would say that’s a big part of the reason why there’s so much hate and turmoil in the world. It is because most of us are skeptics. We don’t think people or nations can get along. We believe world peace is unachievable, so we don’t position ourselves to play our own part to make things better.
If you don’t believe something, or that a cause is doable or achievable, you’ll never put in everything required to make it happen or to change the status quo.
So I’m writing this blog post in order to challenge you with three practical tips on how we can make this happen.
Many of us would like to see peace in the world. Unfortunately, these days, it feels like we’re moving further and further away from achieving that goal rather than moving toward it.
You turn on the TV or the radio and all we seem to see and hear is senseless killings, loss of lives, discord among people because of race, skin color, religion, tribal differences, political affiliation, or sometimes, for no reason at all. How do we even begin to foster peace among our communities? Where do we start? How do we start?
The starting point, I believe is here:
1. It starts within each of us. It doesn’t start with the government, as most of us expect it to, or with the peace advocates we all look up to all over the world. Of course, these people are doing phenomenal work, and we thank them for the progress that has been made. But each of us must first consciously and actively introspect to figure out who we really are, what our mindsets are, and really figure out how our thought processes are contributing or not contributing to community peace. It’s really all about our mindsets.
Before we can individually embark on community peace and eventually world peace, we must work on ourselves first and find that ever so important individual and inner personal peace. Only by doing so can we then find that peaceful place within ourselves where we can embrace others and them a chance.
2. We must ask ourselves some critical questions. Am I listening to the other side? Am I willing to put my opinions and beliefs aside for just a moment, so I can hear another point of view? Will I be willing to sit at a round table with people with opposing views and be able to listen to their views and share mine in a respectful and dignified manner?
If I’m black, have I closely befriended at least three white individuals (and vice versa)? If I’m Christian, do I have three Muslim friends, three Hindu, agnostic, atheist friends? Do I have friends of a different sexual orientation? Am I getting to really know them, really understand their points of view?
I believe the way forward to peaceful friendships and peaceful communities is by befriending people who are not quite like us and getting to really know them from their deepest core, what their hopes and dreams are, what fears they may have.
You will be pleasantly surprised that we have a lot more in common than we think or perceive. As members of the human race, we all fundamentally want the same things—provision for our families, safety, good health, visibility, and acknowledgment in the community, representation of our voices so we can be heard, and mutual respect and love from others.
3. Move it to the community level. As we consciously and actively make these personal friendships and bonds, we must then take it to the community level and regularly hold round-table discussions where different groups of people are represented. Healthy, respectful discussions where everyone gets to have a voice, share their standpoint, and at the end of which we can carry the conclusions made and lessons learned from others and implement those at a community and hopefully state level.
We can never foster peaceful friendships or peace resolutions among communities if we continue to talk at each other instead of with each other, and just listen more.
Stereotypes are dangerous. They are assumptions made of others, which are often false. You cannot assume that everyone of a certain race or religion or skin color are all the same. People are individuals, and we must view them as such and give each other a chance.
Every accomplishment starts with baby steps. It takes a baby 12–18 months to walk fully and be steady on their feet. Community peace and world peace sounds like a tall order, like an unachievable task, but every step gets us closer and closer to that goal. I do my part. You do yours. Then we all do ours, and I’m optimistic that we will start to make steps forward.
We must all do our parts. We must raise awareness, but we must do this peacefully and with due respect of others.
So I challenge everyone reading this blog post to go forth with some introspection, find that personal peace and clarity from within first. Spend needed time with yourself and with your thoughts, find out where your mindset really has been, challenge yourself, and decide to have more of an open mind. Then step out to make intentional, authentic friendships with people you consider not like you, spread this practice in your communities, and then start to put together round-table peace resolution discussions in your communities.
Use the power of social media to raise awareness about our collective ambition for peace resolutions.
But please remember: No Violence. No hatred. Violence and hate and stereotypes have done nothing so far to help move us toward our peace goals.
Peace, peace, peace. Peaceful, loving, and respectful friendships, alliances, and discussions.
Peace must always be at the forefront of everything we do. We must be intentional and ambitious about fostering peaceful alliances and friendships, and we must really believe in it for it to happen.
So let’s go forth—go forth and make some intentional, authentic friendships with those we consider not quite like us, and let’s start to organize healthy, respectful, and meaningful round-table discussions on varied topics.