Accept Yourself, Ignore Others

I spent a lot of yesterday watching the Tyler Clementi/Dharun Ravi case. My heart goes out to Tyler’s family and friends who had to suffer his loss and think about the pain and torment Tyler felt before he committed suicide. Tyler must have felt extremely ridiculed and distressed in order to commit suicide after his roommate invaded his privacy.  What really makes me sad, though, is that he let such a small group of people affect his fate. While he felt embarrassed and mocked by his peers, he must not have thought about the fact that his peers are such a miniscule percentage of this world’s population. If only he thought about the thousands of people outside of his small world that would have accepted him for who he was and known that the majority of people condemn Ravi, instead, for being a cruel, ignorant and closed-minded bully. I am sure Tyler was too ashamed to seek help from his parents or request to be moved to a new university, but he could have. He could have gone to a new place that accepts him and knows about the video and looks down on Ravi instead of him.

It’s a good reminder to all of us that the tiny group of people we know is only a small group of the billions of other people in this world. Why do we let ourselves get influenced by these people? Don’t compare yourself with the ones around you and don’t let them shape the image you have of yourself. Accept yourself for who you are, be proud of the person you are and strive to be your best, everyone else should accept you as you are. There is so much more out there, and there is so much diversity in this world, so much culture, so much understanding. If you have found yourself in an unaccepting environment, move on, move forward and be proud of the person you are. 

Do Some Research

I’m sorry for the slow start to this week…I think I wrote about 15 drafts on Monday, but I couldn’t seem to get my thoughts straight. I felt the need to comment on the death of Bin Laden and the deaths of Ghaddafi’s son and grandchildren, but I was at a loss for words. I realized that talking about death, no matter how celebratory for most it may be, is not something I enjoy discussing. I’ve also realized just how much I dislike discussing politics.  Since the “Arab Spring” began, I feel that most of my conversations revolve around politics. This weekend, I was at a British wedding (not the Royal one :)) and all people wanted to discuss with me, as a Syrian-American, was politics. Although I studied politics for 6 years, the truth is, I simply have no interest in touching upon nor debating sensitive subjects.  I was going to title this blog “Stay out of Politics,” but I realized that I may stay out of it socially, but I love to read about it while I am by myself.

So, what I will say, today, is “do some research.” Too many of us have differing opinions and beliefs, and I think that everyone, as long as they are aware of a situation, has the right to believe what they want, as wrong as others may find that to be.  Someone recently asked me how we are supposed to know “the truth” or what is really going on.  I said that we can’t.  I have family in Syria, and I still can’t get an accurate account of what is happening there. All I know is that people are dying, and it’s barely a priority on most news agendas.  There is no way we can find out the truth from only watching or reading the news, but at the same time, direct sources aren’t always an option either. All news stations have their own platforms, so it is up to us to do our own research and formulate our own opinions of what is going on in the world. Because we find so many conflicting news stories, I believe it’s best if we expand our sources and read from around the world – Haaretz, NYTimes, BBC, AlJazeera, Fox, etc.  I personally enjoy reading the Op-Ed section of newspapers.  Whether I completely agree or disagree with what the person is saying, at least I know it’s an opinion – nothing claiming to be fact.  Find a journalist you respect and read their opinion, maybe you’ll find that it answers many of the questions you have. 

Regardless of what your opinion on political matters may be, I do encourage everyone to “read all about it.”  I believe it is important to educate ourselves so that we know what is going on in our nation and abroad.  Plus, if you happen to end up at a foreign wedding, it will be nice to answer questions that may arise in a political discussion between you and the other guests. 😉