The Power of Belief
“I will not grant you the gift of my hatred. You’re asking for it, but responding to hatred with anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to view my countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You lost.” These are the words of Antoine Leiris, a Parisian whose wife was killed in the attack on the Bataclan concert hall this week.
His grace, wisdom, and strength stun me. His straightforward post on Facebook directed at those who perpetrated the attack, speaks volumes about the state of the world today and how our choices will shape the world of tomorrow and the people we will become.
There are people in the world—far too many—who live in a place of hate, anger, and prejudice. From this seat of fear, they kill, terrorize, and destroy. Their goal is to paralyze with panic and terror those who have different beliefs. This, in turn, sows and nurtures hatred and violence toward them and those believed to be “like” them.
They want us all to live in fear. To hate one another and them. To be skeptical of strangers, of tolerance, of living fully. They want us to dwell in the same world of anger, hate, and death as they do. To be weak and demoralized.
It is by choosing not to engage in the same mentality, that we can rise above those who wish to steal all that is worthwhile in life. Despite his certain shock and despair, Antoine focused on hope and trust instead of anger and hate. He looks toward the future with his 17-month-old son as one rooted in joy and freedom rather than loathing and fear.
Each of us now has a choice as to how we react to the brutality, ignorance, and evil of the terrorist acts. Of course, governments and world leaders must plan, protect, and act; but we as members of the human family, must start by living our beliefs. Will we follow the courageous and graceful example of Antoine Leiris? Or will fear and anger guide us?
Our convictions and values have power. As stated by John Stuart Mill, “One person with a belief is equal to 99 who have only interests.” Collectively, our principles create our culture and community. I choose the light over darkness, and strive to live these beliefs:
I believe in goodness, unconditional love, forgiveness, individuality, understanding, and compassion. In seizing the moment and living life to its fullest. In helping others, the power of grace and a heartfelt, “I am sorry.”
I believe mistakes make us stronger, and a good lesson lasts a lifetime. It is more important for me to be my children’s parent than their friend and it is my responsibility to raise adults who are the best they can be as often as possible; that often comes at a cost to me and to them. The example I set for them paves the path they will choose when it is their time to lead.
I believe all people have the potential to do and be good, loving, and happy. I believe we are all interconnected. My actions affect yours and ultimately those of people living on the other side of the planet.
I believe that time, attention, and being present is more valuable than money, possessions, status, or accolades. Giving ourselves fully, in the moment, to the people we are with can do more to fulfill them and us than just about anything. We all long to be heard and feel understood.
I believe in accountability for my words, deeds, and promises. Honesty, integrity, and authenticity are the keys to friendship, happiness, and success.
I believe in love. Silliness. Living with open eyes and hearts. Lifting others up and looking for the best in them, which illuminates the best in me, too. Accepting differences and maybe even learning from them. Putting myself out there. Protecting and nurturing everyone I can. Choosing right over easy. Giggles. Joy. Connectivity. Uniqueness. Inspiration. Awe. Wonder. Hope.
I believe, as Don Miguel Ruiz explains in his book, “The Four Agreements,” humans are “pure love, pure light.”
I believe love wins.