Carol's Corner FALL 2018
I realize I have been silent for longer than usual and it has been too long in between columns, so here I am!
As I watch events unfold and see the reporting and dissemination of information, I am saddened by the realization that we are becoming more and more segmented as a society.
The great melting pot that represented America is being torn apart at the seams.
I realize it is easier to blame our politicians although many do incite and encourage this behavior. However, the truth is, they are only extensions of ourselves. There is a famous quote I will paraphrase , “we get the government we deserve”
The segmentation and isolation we experience has also got to do with the way we now live our lives, digitally. People are more isolated than ever and social media while being helpful and entertaining on so many levels, further enhances that isolation as people compare their lives to the mythical ones they see on facebook, instagram and other social media outlets. Social media is each individual’s carefully curated public relations page.
The news media while hunting for ratings and eyeballs becomes more and more polarizing as they sensationalize the news and seek to report conflict and strife in an effort to gain attention.
Suicide rates are up for younger adults as a direct response in failing to measure up to the sanitized and sensationalized social media before them. Bullying and lack of empathy further accelerates feelings of inadequacy and isolation among our youth. Statistics do not lie.
People’s ability to find media and groups that sympathize with their points of view while turning away from those that do not, further cause segmentation and the inability for public discourse and decrease our ability to understand and empathize with other points of view. We quickly “ unfriend” people whose opinions differ from our own, rather than make attempts to understand them. Discussions quickly escalate to name calling, vitriol and in some extreme cases, hate and violence.
People bury their heads in their phones chasing fake profiles and unrealistic expectations while dismissing the vast and rich cultures and peoples in front of them. How are we to learn and grow without learning and accepting opinions and peoples that differ from our own?
The vast discrepancy in the distribution of wealth has further created an “us against them” mentality with feelings of animosity, inadequacy and injustice flourishing.
The failure of society’s institutions to practice transparency and honesty and instead choose deception and dishonesty, accelerate distrust and fear along with paranoia.
When people cannot trust their governments, institutions ( corporate, financial, educational, religious) and codes of ethics and conduct, we run the risk of extremism and desperate behavior. This creates a void that is filled with fake news and fake prophets capitalizing on the fear and hysteria.
This all sounds bleak and dystopian and hopeless. The truth is? It is NOT! We as a people and us as individuals only need to be just as vigilant and prolific in spreading love and acceptance. Standing up for good and tolerance, opening the doors to understanding and practicing kindness are our tools.
I have always felt the fitness industry was successful and a positive role model of this acceptance and behavior. It is what we preach, besides the physical, our role as instructors and trainers is to empower individuals to be strong enough to be gentle.
To be stronger and free of stress to enable them to open their hearts and minds to others.
This is our more lofty and powerful role and we can embrace it and enable understanding and acceptance.
We may have to take a look inward for that to happen on a more regular basis as we grow as an industry where appearance and number of followers seems to be the prerequisite for employment rather than education and experience. Companies and businesses spend more on social media and advertising than educating and mentoring their employees. Teaching them social and interpersonal skills needs to be as important as posts on instagram.
The” blame game” has no winners and in order for us to rebuild our country and move toward empathy, acceptance, understanding, tolerance and kindness, we need to internalize the journey and ask ourselves how are we contributing to the situation and what can we do to help? What is OUR message as an industry and how are we portraying it? These are big questions with no easy answers that require work and dedication, however, what better end game than mending our fences and hearts ..