I woke up this morning, made a promise with myself that I would purposely avoid the television, news outlets and all social media channels today. All because I wanted to be the best version of myself. The one who is empathetic, non-judgemental and full of hope.

You see, I’m a very independent girl, have always been and will always be. I pride myself on having the strength to weather all kinds of storms, from escaping the Vietnam war to getting acclimated to another culture, (the American way of life), to dealing with hardships (my son’s cancer) and overcoming every day challenges. I have always had faith that everything was going to be alright.

For the first time in my life today, I feel extremely sad and a little vulnerable because the future seems so uncertain. I guess that’s because for the last eight years, I had a leader who I supported and felt I could count on. Was he perfect? Absolutely not! Was he trying hard to be his best self? Absolutely, positively yes! He was a man of integrity and had values that I could identify with. He was fair, strong, thoughtful and caring and inclusive and yes, he happens to be black.

I am just an ordinary citizen who wants the same thing as everyone else. I want financial security, comfort and safety for myself and my children. I feel bad for my neighbors who have less but I don’t feel resentful towards the ones who have more. I believe that there’s more than enough for everyone to share and enjoy. And I also believe that once we get past the surface, we are all the same.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, we’d let the competitiveness in all of us get in the way. We’d let power, positions, wealth, influence and labels define us. Even when we know that all those materialistic things box us in to a corner and do not reflect who we really are. I know, it’s difficult to change when we are being conditioned that way and for so long.

I hope and pray that as we move forward our desire for a better world for our children will outweigh our tendency to seek revenge and inflict harm. A lot of people will not acknowledge this fact but at the end of the day, without our identities and our looks, we really are all the same because we are made the same and we all want the same.

It’s time to look inward and ask ourselves these tough questions: what kind of a world do we want our children to grow up in? Are our actions in alignment with what we want to teach them? Are we modeling acceptance or prejudice? What makes us uncomfortable with people who are different than us? Does someone have to lose in order for us to win? Are we really being our best selves when we judge and/or criticize?

Until we’d walked in someone’s shoes we do not know their story. Wouldn’t it feel better if we can help lift them up rather than tear them down? We need to remember that the world is a better place when there are more happy people in it.

Thank you for indulging me!