Article Op-Ed

My 2016 Resolution: Improve Myself, Not the World

My 2016 Resolution: Improve Myself, Not the World

Author Maher Budeir by

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2015 has been a unique year for me. Thanks to social media, I have discovered things about our society that I wish I had not.

I have discovered that discrimination, racism, and negative stereotyping are alive and well. I have discovered that we are only scratching the surface in working towards social justice. I have discovered that what seems to be a civil society still harbors plenty of hate, notions of self-supremacy, and ugly injustice within the folds of our communities, our law enforcement, and our leaders.

From the mass shootings to the coldblooded murder of unarmed persons to the sweeping stereotypes to the hateful, false and unjust speech of our politicians…I have grown tired of it. Tired of hearing arguments about what is terrorism and what it is not terrorism, or what is what is racist and what is not racist.

Hate is hate, and killing innocent people is murder. They are all ugly, and they are all shameful representations of our humanity.

So, when I think about a 2016 resolution, I do not want to work on reforming society. I do not want to preach about what is racist or what is injustice. I instead want to work on the things I can control. Those are my actions, my words, and my thoughts.

I want to turn my focus inward and start from the very basic step of thinking, saying and doing everything in a just manner, free of racism, free of demonization and free of negative assumptions about anyone, whether they are my brothers, my associates, or my adversaries.

I want to think about nothing else but digging deep down into my own soul and committing every ounce of my energy to making every action I take, and every word I speak, free from all forms of hate, misjudgment, racism and negative stereotyping. I want to reverse every ill norm, and every thought in my psyche, that cause injustice or undue prejudice.

I will not let someone’s culture, social status, race, gender, or age cloud my view of their humanity. My 2016 resolution is to work hard and question whether I am being just in everything I do, say, or think.

Approaching Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I wish I could say that his dream has been fully realized. Unfortunately, I have realized that we are at a much earlier stage than what I thought in realizing the dream. I wish I could say that we need to get up and work on social change through leadership, protest, and inspiration. But I believe our disease is far too deep in our country, our communities, and ourselves.

I feel that the single most important thing is to start at square one, working on oneself by making a personal commitment to do better, eradicate every notion of self-superiority, and awaken all the thoughts that remind us of our basic and humble humanity.

Maher Budeir, Partner in Balanced Leadership Institute, a nonprofit organizational development and leadership training and consulting firm

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