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An Open Letter To The 21st Century Society

An Open Letter To The 21st Century Society

Dear society,

Today I would like to talk to you – the craftsman who are providing the pioneers of tomorrow with the tools to take this world on headstrong and make it better for the generations to follow. How far do you really think we have come in the 21st century?

It has been for a while now that I have seen what we are truly capable of, what we have always been capable of: War, genocide, animal cruelty, child abuse, inequality due to gender and race and many other atrocities that, in order to list them it would take me until the next Olympics – that is, if I am lucky enough. It seems as if William Golding had it right when he wrote Lord of the Flies with the intention of making it clear that mankind is and will always be torn between two opposing forces: Savagery vs Civilization.

Many, including myself have hoped that with light carriers such as Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, The Dalai Lama; and the warriors such as Gloria Steinmann, Marian Wright Edelman, Harry Hay and Roy Wilkins – that we have learned to move past all that has divided us, all that has chained and oppressed us. However, with the latest look at the shocking statistics of bullying, I see this is not the case.

Bullying is the root of our problems

In comparison to all the other problems humanity face, bullying might seem small and insignificant, when in fact, it is the core of it all.

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The Free Dictionary defines bullying as: “A person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people.”

Stopbullying defines it as: “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”

Yet, the notion that it is only the small, weak and young who are bullied has long since been demolished and it has spread to wider waters where anyone out there swimming against the stream with individualism or liberation, anyone who defies the societal rules that mankind has used to bar others in, are threatened and abused.

When did we sink so low?

My frustration of this stems from a recent incident that has happened in South Africa, where a lady (married I might add) felt the need to spice up her sex life and send her husband a picture of her genitals. Unfortunately she sent it to her child’s Sports Moms group message – and some “lady”, who most likely likes attention and wanted to have the approval in the form of laughter from her husband and friends, – deemed it fit to publish it on social media for all the world to see.

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An honest mistake from her part – and no, I am not talking about the spicy selfie – ends up ruining the life of a family who no longer can show their faces anywhere. All of this because one person felt the need to feel empowered and accepted by humiliating another.

When did we sink this low? When did the downgrading of someone start bringing us the pleasure of being in a superior position to others and in on the latest scandal with no thought as to how this can drastically change the life of the person that we are bullying?

Don’t give in to being someone you’re not

Have we stopped a moment to consider the lethal ripple effect of our actions? The ripple effect of choosing to stomp someone down in the ground for being a liberated individual – something we wish we could be, but are too cemented in the system of trying to impress those around us with our looks, possessions and wit to even try and become our true selves.

Why do we find it so easy to contribute to the low self-esteem of others, to their depression, their suicide thoughts and attempts, their fears and anxieties, their disorders and their rage? No wonder we are in one of the worst global situation that mankind has ever seen. We are filled with hate and prejudice; with selfish desires and no thought as to what I could do to help my fellow brother or sister.

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To you who read this and have experienced the persecution, oppression, torment and abuse of another. I apologize on behalf of all those who deemed it fit to break you down because your power of individuality scared them. My advice to you is to stay strong, do not let the world break you, tame you and shape you into something you were never born to be. I urge you to look at all the other individuals who refused to succumb to society and became successful and inspirational individuals.

Individuals such as David Bowie, who Billboard deemed the “Rebel who changed the face of music,” and Lady Gaga a unique and visionary girl that was bullied, rejected and made feel like a “freak” in school, later considered one of Time Magazines 100 most influential People in the World. There is a wonderful article on Lady Gaga’s triumph by Esperanza magazine I would encourage you to read.

Change is near

Did you know you have the ability to help and inspire people? That you have the ability to be a blessing? Do not sacrifice that opportunity by allowing those who do not understand you, to change you. I apologize that we have become a society that feeds on the defeat of others and that we have become to self-involved to even notice it or care.

To those who have been partakers in the ongoing battle of the bullies, or even just those who have merely been the straight-laced observers of the injustices that take place: Your time of abuse, ignorance and of being nonchalant is coming to an end. It might not be today, nor tomorrow – but it is coming.

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There will be a generation that will stand up like all the other freedom fighters mentioned above and fight for the oppressed and afflicted, a generation that chooses acceptance over prejudice, and a generation that chooses love above hate. It won’t start off as something big – it will be the small refreshing breeze that makes you aware of its presence and you will feel it gently, yet deliberately change into something bigger, stronger – a gale that brings about a tropical storm.

As Marjane Satrapi says in her Vogue interview with Emma Watson: “The only thing that can change the world is the slow evolution of culture.”

This evolution is approaching – it starts with those willing to stand up, change themselves for the better and fight for the abused.

I leave you with more words from the inspirational Marjane Satrapi: “From now on I’m going to change myself, and if I change myself, I have changed a little bit of this world. I will try to be a better person.”

I hope and pray that we all will start being better people, people whose intrinsic nature stem out of love – it is the only way we will be able to build a better tomorrow for ourselves and the generation to follow.

Featured photo credit: Rachal Baran via inspirationde.com

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Bianca Gouws

Freelance Writer, Director and Actress

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Last Updated on August 21, 2018

15 Signs You’re an Old Soul and Think Differently

15 Signs You’re an Old Soul and Think Differently

If you’ve often felt slightly removed from the worries of today and miss the simplistic life of a time gone by, or somehow feel a little out of sync with what your peers are concerned with, there’s a chance you may be an old soul.

Being an old soul refers to how you view and approach life.

Your views echo those of someone much older than you, who has lived a long and fruitful life. You approach life with a greater sense of knowledge and wisdom coupled with a greater sense of inner wealth.

If you’ve ever met an exasperated 10 year old saying, “Kids today are so…”, or a 28 year old who says, “In my day…”, an awful lot, chances are you’re in the presence of a beautiful old soul. They’re often perplexed, and unable to relate to the things people their own age consider fun, or important, and so feel out of place.

They look at life through a vignette of experiences they may not have lived, yet, but somehow, just seem to know.

So if you’ve ever felt like you’ve lived before, and you have a wealth of wisdom you can’t explain, chances are you have been reincarnated—

—or maybe, you’re just an old soul!

Here are some tell-tale signs to help you find out if you’re an old soul.

1. You know there’s another way to do things.

You often say things like, “I have a feeling this will work”, or “there’s no harm in trying.” People may view your suggestions as outdated or done, but you know that sometimes, just sometimes, the tried and tested ways of doing things are best. Hey, if it ain’t broke…

You feel that not all problems require a new and innovative solution, and going round in circles when the answer may be staring you in the face is usually a waste of valuable time, and energy.

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You have no problem trying out new things, but know, too, that oldies can also be goodies.

2. You give advice well beyond your years.

You somehow seem to know how to do things you haven’t even done yourself yet. It’s like you’ve lived before, and just know how it all works. People often look at you with that “how do you know?” expression, and you respond with a confident, “I just know!”

Truth is, you do just know, but don’t know how you know. Those people who come to you for advice, though somewhat freaked out by your amazing prophetic powers to impressively offer solutions and predict outcomes, trust you wholeheartedly and don’t doubt your authenticity.

3. You like to think things through.

Even the most impatient of people will need to think things through if they are an old soul at heart. You need that time to maul it over in your head.

It’s an important part of your to-do process, and it enables you to move forward in the direction most in sync with your mind, body and soul.

To you, not being able to think things through, even a little, leaves you feeling uneasy, and that does nothing to help.

4. You don’t waste time asking why.

After you’ve thought things through, you move ahead, confident in the knowledge that you’ve done all you needed to do to get going.

You don’t waste time in trying to justify it to yourself or anyone else. You have little time and patience for the nonsensical and would prefer to utilize your time getting things done, rather than sitting around talking about getting things done.

In the end, you understand that whatever you do, you trust that all things work out just as they are supposed to, and you don’t want to question that wonderful process.

5. You don’t like to go out just for the sake of going out.

It’s quality over quantity for you. You love to go out and have fun, but going out because others feel it is required, or you look boring if you don’t, holds no merit for you.

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When you go out, you’d like to experience something; something that resonates with your way of perceiving the world and challenges you.

You’ll happily spend money on those things that give you wonderful experiences and broaden your horizons. Going out just because, seems pointless to you; you’d rather save your time, and money, and do something of quality.

6. You have an appreciation for old literature.

You respect the classics. You’re often found getting euphorically high off old books. You’ve probably sniffed a good few old books in your time, and you don’t care who sees.

For you, old literature should be respected and valued; they hold history and historical experience between their pages and deserve to be exalted.

7. You have old ears.

You love and appreciate the classics and have a longing for the musicality of those nostalgic tunes. Your record (that’s right, record!) collection looks like a retro music store. Probably only 10% of your collection consists of what you refer to as “nowadays” music, the rest are from decades gone by.

You know only a handful of today’s artists, and that’s only because you haven’t heard an album yet to rival your favorite Grateful Dead album, or your favorite Frank Sinatra track.

You don’t go out of your way to avoid modern music, it just doesn’t seem to whet your appetite. So you’ll happily pump your beloved Janis Joplin or Nat King Cole all the way home. Heaven!

8. You see no need in being unnecessarily stressed.

You don’t invite drama just because it makes you feel alive, no, you’d much prefer to live without it.

You appreciate the quiet, and invite peace. It’s become apparent to you that the world views stress and busyness as being productive.

But you know that being productive has nothing to do with being crazy busy or stressed, but everything to do with how well you utilize your time.

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So you’re mindful about what you spend your hours doing, and make sure your doing something worthwhile, and not just keeping busy for busy sake.

9. You love to meet new people.

To you, talking to people is enriching and adds to your experience of the world. This isn’t because you just can’t help chit chatting, but more so because you are genuinely fascinated by those you share this planet with, who can offer different perspectives.

You love being able to swap stories with people you’ve only just met. Plus, it also serves to make those trips to the bank all the more interesting!

10. You value deep connections.

For you, it’s all about quality over quantity. You require a deeper connection with those around you in order to feel any connection at all.

Half-hearted friendships, surface-level relationships and fly-by-night hook-ups are not your thing. You value the essence of deeper friendships and long lasting relationships, as you give yourself wholly to them, too.

11. You love learning.

Nothing gets you going more than learning more about yourself, other people and the world around you.

For you learning is growth, and growth is part of life. As an old soul, you approach learning from the understanding that it doesn’t have to lead anywhere, for example, a degree or certificate.

Sure, those things are great and offer a sense of accomplishment, but for you it’s the act of learning something new and wonderful that motivates you, not the initials after your name!

12. You don’t see the fuss about the latest craze.

Following others just to fit in? Where’s the fun in that? To you, being a style chaser or tech follower is something you can never quite get your head around.

Sure you may even own a Kindle or you may have an iPad, but now they sit there, gathering dust, because you miss the feel (and smell) or the real thing, and computer works just fine.

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You don’t really care whether you’re an early adopter or a late comer. None of the things defines you, and you’re okay with that.

13. You value the company of those much older than you.

You want to drink in their wisdom and you hang on their every word as they tell you stories of their youth. You laugh at their accounts of old trends, and cry at the war stories, you reminisce with them about long lost loves, and actually listen to their pearls of wisdom.

At a time when we seem to have less and less time for the more mature among us, the old soul has nothing but time to give. That’s because you appreciate what they have to share, and let’s be honest, you secretly wish for a time when life seemed so simple.

14. You are the epitome of calm.

You are the steadfast one, the one neither swayed, nor toppled, even in a crisis. You probably say things like, “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast,” and tell people to “Get a grip!”

To everyone else, you appear disconnected, but to those who know you well, you’re actually hard at work, you just work differently.

You’ve learned that nothing actually gets done if everyone is running around losing their heads; someone needs to be the calm force. This is just how you make sense of what is happening.

You stop. Wait. Listen. Then decide what steps to take next.

15. You truly understand what it means to give.

To you, there’s no better way to live, than to give.

Giving your time, or money or those things you simply have no need for is the most rewarding thing anyone can do with their short time on earth. It isn’t an ego thing, far from it.

For you, giving is the purest act of love. Plus, you see no point in holding on to things you cant take with you, so you’re more than happy to travel light!

Featured photo credit: Portrait of fashionable well dressed man with beard posing outdoors looking away, confident and focused mature man in coat standing outside at sunny evening, elegant fashion model via shutterstock.com

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