Every year as December arrives and January can be seen on the horizon, we often hear the expression “out with the old and in with the new!” Don’t we all feel better when we get a fresh start, regardless if it’s at work or home, fresh or new just gives us energy and a new outlook.

Unfortunately, as we look around during this transition, one thing that simply does not seem to be on the throw away list is the dangerous emotion of  hate. While hate is always thought of as an emotion, it can also be a result of our attitudes and sadly, attitudes around the globe seem to be on full display.

While disturbing, hate is certainly not a new issue, we know it has been in place for as long as humans have been on this planet. However, never before have we been exposed 24/7 to global views, protests and wars as we are in these times. I keep hearing the question, “Have we ever been so divided?”


To me, it seems one of the largest drivers of this emotion is when we aim dislike towards people not like ourselves. Sometimes, it is directed towards people who practice a different faith, or individuals with a cultural background that we do not understand. Some choose to discriminate for reasons of race. The truth is, not one race, religion or group acting in good faith should be singled out in hateful ways. 

Too often we choose to ignore seeing what we have in common, instead only seeing how different someone might be to ourselves. Finding the common things, dedicating ourselves to learning about issues, cultures, history could be a first step towards healing from the destruction that hate brings. 


One of my favorite hobbies is doing genealogy, most likely coming from the fact that I had never seen a living soul that I was blood related to until I was 32 years old. I was raised a Baptist in what is known as the “bible belt” and everything I knew came from my adopted parents’ lineage. So, it was time to learn about my blood line. Of course, I began with the DNA studies that so many of us do. At first it seemed fun with few unexpected secrets. Several years later, I began to find interesting and suprising little tidbits of my blood line.

I found a good bit of Irish and Scottish ancestry, some from Wales and England, and a German Jew. My 5th great-grandfather was a German Jew who immigrated to the United States. Then I found his son, a 4th great-grandfather who became a Methodist Circuit rider minister. A bigger surprise came with a United Stated census from 1850, that I had a 5th great-grandmother who was listed as a “Free woman of color”. As time went on, I began to see “Pioneer Ancestors” which meant people of the Mormon faith appearing on both sides of my birth parents’ line. More recently found devout Catholics. All of these revelations left me thinking, how can we hate people for race, religion and such when if we open our eyes and look, perhaps we are a perfect blend of all the things we think are “different from us.”  

Not So Different

I have to wonder if we found out more about ourselves, could we find it easier to be respectful of others. Society can find all sorts of reason to divide us- one is too rich or too poor, one follows this faith or political belief, one is too dark, or too light, one speaks differently. The list is endless.

For me, I have learned from the process of exploring who I am. I feel inclined to learn about others and appreciate the different points of view. Being more open to learning naturally enhances our ability to be more understanding.

Try finding what we have in common and appreciate the richness each person brings to the table.  Of course, it is not likely that we can change society quickly but just maybe we can began to lessen the “me against you”. Perhaps we can contribute to lessening the hate and the divide. It can’t hurt to try. 

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Gandi

Learn and bring change.

Learn more about Tricia.