Figuring Out Friendships – Part 3 – “Why should we be friends?”

Why should you become friends with someone – and what are reasons you shouldn’t?

I’m more the merrier type. If someone is kind, open and interesting I am more than willing to let them into my life. If they want to be a part of my life that is. As mentioned in a previous post there has to be a certain kind of chemistry for friendships to happen. It has to fit for both. Yet unlike when it comes to romantic relationships, we often tend to be less active, less picky and less reflective of our friendships.

Why is that? Why do we feel friendships are something that just happens to us rather than us being in control of them?

Many parts of our lives are dominated by the environment we find ourselves in. As children, we become friends with others that are simply live on our street or are in our classrooms. And many psychological studies support this theory. No matter how much we like to think that we are in charge of who we befriend, we are not as much in the driving seat as we think. It seems proximity is the main driver in order to build a foundation for a friendship. In social psychology it is called The Proximity Principle. It is a theory, supported by various studies that people who encounter each other more frequently tend to develop stronger relationships. It is the mere fact that when you are close to one another, you are more likely to develop a rapport and thus more likely to build a friendship. Even though you may not have much in common.

This is unknown to many people. Many people think they have an influence on who they become friends with. When I asked in a Facebook group which is focused on building friendships between women – all women said what makes them become friends with someone is common interests and similar values. Someone that people find is easy to get along with and easy to have good conversations with. So in the end it seems we do not really have high demands towards another person. You’d think reading that we should all have a lot more friends than we do. I believe the reason we don’t is again proximity. If you do not create it, you will not be able to build a rapport. No matter how much you have in common – if there is no consistency in your efforts to meet and build a relationship – there will be none.

All in all, studies show not much is needed. Meet often, find common ground and you will build a friendship. Yet why is it still so hard sometimes, even with age? I’ll continue to try to answer that in this series.

Change People’s Behavior By Being Kind

I have often found in my life that being kind to other people has helped me. While often people perceive being kind as a weakness – kindness is a way to manage how people will treat you. In the short run complaining and being frank about your needs is a winning strategy. Yet if you are looking to have an impact on someone’s behavior on the long run – kindness is key.

For example, if you are at a restaurant and not getting served, ask yourself if you will go back there again. If not, please unleash the sass. Do not be rude because there’s never a valid reason to be disrespectful, but speak your needs and speak them clearly. If in the long run, you want to keep coming back to this restaurant, you want to go with kindness. Because in the words of a goddess, Maya Angelou:

At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”

If you made someone feel good, they will remember and go above and beyond to reciprocate that. It gives them a feeling that they owe you something because you have done something genuinely good to them. Think about people that have been unkind to you in the past – did you ever want to give them an ounce of kindness back or the opposite?

There is a difference between being kind and being nice. Nice means adhering to social norms, giving a compliment or just being polite. Kindness is about the genuine intention of helping someone or trying to do them well. I’m not a fan of nice. Nice is when you do not speak your needs in order to not cause any friction or not to cause an inconvenience. Nice is adhering to social rules in a way that you do and say things that are not inline with your genuine feelings and intentions in order to create a positive atmosphere. Kind is, when you really want what’s best for people. People will take notice of that. Whereas nice can be see as a weakness, kindness is the strength to be able to not only take care of yourself, but influence the world around you for the better.

Most of us probably think we are being kind. But there is always potential to be kinder. For example, When you are in a situation, ask yourself what you would like to hear? Or ask yourself, how can you help others do better or feel better? How can you create a bubble of positivity and care around you? It starts with you showing it to others. Always approach a first interaction out of the perspective of kindness. Yes, that includes email or phone calls. When people make mistakes, but even kinder than you would to yourself. Ask yourself how can you make the world a better place for those around you, and the world will become a better place for you, and people will make sure to keep that bubble afloat because trust me, they like it too.

How do you shed the weight of expectations?

Losing body weight is easier than getting rid of the weight of expectations. I’m mainly referring to the silent expectations people have towards one another, that are rarely verbalized but also the ones we have towards ourselves, that we barely know are even there or where they came from.

Let’s start with the ones given to us by other people. Here I always think about family first, you’re expected to call on birthdays, text your parents back, but also live up to certain standards – to live a life that is validated by others. That usually means having a job with steady pay, being a steady monogamous (and often also heterosexual) relationship, being healthy and generous with your time, love and as well money towards your family. The extent of these pressures and expectations vary from person to person. Yet they are there, silently lingering and determining how you live your life. It’s not that necessary that you don’t want to do these things, but that you often don’t even check in if you want to or not – they feel mandatory and like a chore.

Often these expectations are internalized. We tend to think these are a standard of which we need to live up to and we live with guilt towards ourselves, sometimes even anger and hatred towards ourselves. It’s almost tragic if you think how much of our lives are lived in accordance to others. But then there are also the expectations we set up ourselves. They can range from how we expect to look, what kind of life we should lead, what kind of career we should have. As you can see they often align with the expectation others have towards us, yet we often add our own spin to things. And additional cherry on top of the already existing mountain of expectations. We tend to add an idea of what kind of person we want to be to the mix. How often do you hear yourself say “I should have done better” or “I should have done this different”. Traveled more, had more friends, read more books. Why isn’t what you have already done enough? Why aren’t we enough for ourselves and yet hold ourselves to a higher bar? I believe it’s these external pressures that we have integrated so much into ourselves we can no longer distinguish where they come from, and where do we begin.

I find the hardest thing about expectations are that they are so integrated in us, we barely realize that they are there and that we are adhering to them, letting them guide us into living a certain kind of life.

One way to recognize them, is how you feel (yes, I am talking about being mindful again, yes I believe it’s the core to everything). If you feel angry at yourself or guilty, ask yourself why. And then, where this is coming from? Often we won’t know. For example:

“Damn! I’m such an idiot I forgot to write to mum for her birthday”
Ask yourself, is it really that bad if you write the next day? And say Happy Belated? Sure she might be sad, but is it worth feeling that way yourself? Why are you so hard on yourself? And where on earth is this coming from? No one has called you an idiot for forgetting a Birthday why are you doing it?

All honesty, I do not know where these come from. I can’t answer these questions, and I also don’t know yet how to live a life without expectations. All I know is that life is so short, do you really want to beat yourself up for simply existing?

The Adult-Child Trap at Work

Human brains are lazy. They like consistency and look for it where ever possible. In life, we tend to copy states that we are already used to. For example, we treat friends like our siblings, a sport coach or even a dentist like a parent. We tend to carry this structure within us “Adult knows best, tells me what to do, then I get praise”. We don’t often question what they say or how they do it, we trust being told is what will help us. Listening to our parents got us this far in life it must make sense.

This constellation of “Listen to me and act as I say – you will be evaluated and treated accordingly” starts with parents at home but then extends to school. Teachers treat us the same. As an authority figure they tell us how to act, what not to do and evaluate us accordingly. Behavior is such a big part of initial school reports if you think back. For the largest extent of our lives we have this structure of Adult-Child that determines how we are measured against others. Then comes work.

The jump from school to work is scary. For around 20 years of your life, you were guided through a system with clear metrics and structure. You would know if you gave a certain kind of input – say studied hard – you would get a certain kind of output. None of that applies to work. You are not guided through the system – there are no clear metrics and structure. You are left to your own devises to figure out how it works and it often changes. Why else are there so many books about managing your career, how to succeed, how to be more productive etc. Some people work themselves into a burn out because they work so hard and put in so much effort and yet they never get promoted or get a raise. It is a unclear, complex and unsupported world you have stepped into. So it makes sense you try to figure it out by using everything you have already learned in the world and apply it to work.

What our lazy brains tend to do is to copy this structure that we are used to for the bulk of our lives “Adult-Child” or “Parent-Child” to work. We believe if we act as we are told by our bosses, we will be evaluated accordingly. It sounds reasonable and rather logical – just do as you are told and everything will be fine but it is wrong and highly unhealthy. It should be a “Adult-Adult” constellation. It is the reason why so many of us are overworked and unhappy with our jobs and our lives.

For one – you become submissive. You tend to forget that you have rights to ask for things such as breaks, less work, more exciting projects, more pay or promotions. We forget that it’s not just a company that has demands towards us, but also we have demands towards them. It should be a respectful mutual relationship – not one where you owe the company your existence. You can see it from a productivity standpoint – you will work best if you feel supported, seen and valued. It’s in the company’s interest you feel good at work.

Two – you seek validation at work. This leads to us assuming that our worth is tied to how our boss perceives us. In all honesty no matter how great your boss is, he too has his own issues (or her!) and insecurities that they are projecting. Most people are promoted because of the work they have put in or by chance – not because they are great managers. The only validation you should care about is your own. A stranger that you didn’t even select to be a part of your life should not have the power to determine your worth and your feelings towards yourself.

Three – you already have parents with expectations towards you, why would you want more of that?

If you change the mindset from “Adult-Child” to “Adult-Adult” at work, you will become empowered and more clear of your needs – which deserved to get addressed and heard. This is your life and well being we are talking about which goes beyond a job that in a matter of weeks can be replaced by another. Your life and happiness can’t.

Your Own Triggers

How to manage situations that trigger you

Almost everyone has triggers. Moments where we find ourselves reacting heavily to a situation. Few people have lived a life without traumas, moment of hurt, worry or fear. These traumas or painful experiences are so deeply embedded in our memory that when similar circumstances or situations arise, we react strongly towards them as an internal warning system “watch out, you might be getting hurt again like you did before”. The moments awaken a strong, emotional reaction and we often can’t even explain why or how we are reacting. We just do. A primal, instinctive reaction to an external trigger.

Most of our own personal triggers are formed in childhood. At a time where we are extremely conscious of our surroundings and subjective of the world around us in order to understand how it works and how we fit in so our needs are met. So recognizing them in the first place in order to manage the triggers is really difficult. Often too, they have become such a staple part of us that we confuse them as external triggers to our own traits, such as “I’m a firm believer in justice, when I see injustice I just winds me up!” or “I’m such an emotional person – but only when I watch movies. When people get married it just makes me cry so hard, I’m a sucker for romance!”. We tend to see our emotional reactions as personality traits, rather than learned behavior. Here are some examples that might help you understand what a trigger is:

  1. Someone you don’t know tells you off and you are shocked and outraged. How dare they tell you what to do.
  2. Your boss makes a joke about you and you are hurt. Everyone else laughs but you just feel sad for the rest of the day, the feeling sticks with you.

The “issue” with triggers is they are so personal and private. Few people have the same triggers. Triggers being so subconscious and at the same time such a deep part of us, we often forget why we have them and how they became a part of us in the first place. Often the initial experiences that caused them are so painful, our minds even block ourselves from remembering. Here are three ways that can help you recognize them:

  1. A feeling sticks around. No matter how many hours later, you still feel the same. You can’t seem to shake it.
  2. You react to something much stronger than anyone else. People don’t notice something at all, but for you it really stuck out and you can’t understand why other people are not reacting the same.
  3. You change. Usually you are a relaxed person, or usually a happy or quiet or loud person. But this time, for this topic or in this situation, you just can’t seem to be relaxed or happy.

Take some time to think about it. Has there been something in your recent past that sticks out when reading this? Or perhaps, keep an eye out for triggers in your future, for situations when you recognize one of the points above.

As mentioned earlier – these triggers have a self protection purpose. They are rightfully a part of you because technically, it’s just you protecting yourself. That is an honorable thing to do. But there is a flip side to it. These triggers often cause a lot of suffering in us. It ignites a response really difficult to recover from or too let go. It prohibits us from living the life we deserve. While triggers are meant to be useful, they often limit us from leading a life of ease. So what can you do about it?

First of all – note them. Realize these reactions within you and just label them. Give them a neutral label.

When you feel ready later in the day, away from the triggering situation, try to remember other times you have felt this way and see if you can recognize a pattern. Is it something someone said, is it a certain kind of situation, what are the characteristics of the circumstances?

And lastly, try remembering back into your childhood where there were times you felt that way too. It might take longer but you will remember. These triggers are so imprinted in you that deep down they have become impossible to forget.

Note that I am not, at no point at all saying you should get rid of these triggers. If you can, perhaps work towards it. I personally believe that it might take a lifetime to do so. It’s more important to accept them and understand that they are your scars, your tidbits for survival. It’s just important to know why you have them and at a later stage in life to find out how they can serve you – which is the reason why they are there in the first place.

Own your trigger.

Figuring Out Friendships – Series Part 2: How do you make friends?

(especially when you are older)

Making friends is like dating. Two strangers meeting – either consciously or coincidentally, either hitting it off or barely getting through small talk. Sometimes there is a spark and sometimes there isn’t. This part of two strangers meeting is the most vital part – somehow at some time, you must cross paths with a person for them to become your friend. This can be virtual or in person, but can never work without the two of you having a connection. This can be limiting. In order to meet a person, they have to come across our paths in our lives. This is where the trouble of making friends begin.

If you think back to the friends you had as a child – you probably had them because you either met them at school or at a hobby or lived nearby. They would fit in the life paved out for you. When you are older, if the person is not either working with you, or included in a hobby you do – it’s really hard for them to cross your path. Especially if you have a family, and your hobby is on that can be done alone. That’s what makes it hard to make friends, let alone keep them. You just don’t have the opportunity to meet, or you don’t have the mental energy to. We all need support that is outside of our families. An objective person that can listen to you and offer you a point of view often the people closest to you can’t. A second family. Here are some tips on how to build one:

  1. Give people the opportunity to cross your path
    You won’t make friends not having a life. Again – the life can be virtual. Friends that are online are just as much there as friends in real life. Follow groups on facebook that spark an interest. It could just be female groups, people with dogs – you don’t have to engage till you see if you like the group. Just listen and if you feel like commenting or posting – do it! It won’t hurt you.
    Start small talk in the break room, you might find the people in your office are more friend potential than you thought. Or start asking your neighbors questions, or parents while you are waiting to pick kids up at day care. Give people the chance to take up some space in your life. You don’t have to become friends on the first day, but slowly break down the barrier.
  2. Don’t limit your definition of a friend
    I once read about a woman in her 60s being best friends with a 20 year old. I thought that was strange and wondered what they could talk about. Then I realized I was discriminating against people in age and gender. I realized if someone was older or younger than me, I would automatically exclude them out of my life. Since then, I have opened up dramatically – and have build friendships with people of all ages that I value and can trust in my life. To clarify – I’m not friends with a 10 year old. But professionals like me, be it they are 10 years younger or 15 years older, we can laugh about the same things over a cup of coffee and exchange Netflix tips.
    Perhaps you are giving up a great friendship to some limiting belief you have. Ask yourself how you define a friend, and have a look at the people around you.
  3. Put yourself out there – Never Fear Rejection, because it will happen either way
    This is the most vital part and the worst part. You have to put on your brave shoes, be a little more extrovert and flirt your way into being a friend. You will have to ask people out, and ask for their number. You will have to make an effort. If you want to make friends, you have to take it into your hands. And you will have to face rejection just as much you will have to notice that some people you just don’t want to be friends with.
    There are many times I went to meetups in the hope of finding a friend and I just didn’t. I would come home tired and drained. And the other way around, I joined a sports team, and couldn’t find anyone that wanted to be friends with me. I did everything by the book, but other people just seemed content with the friends they had or they just didn’t like me. Sometimes you just don’t jell with people, and sometimes you don’t jell with them and both are ok.

Remember, friendships are like dating. It does need a spark to happen. And if it doesn’t, then it wasn’t meant to be. Nothing wrong with that.

Please feel free to share your tips if you have any!

Figuring Out Friendships – Series Part 1

Why don’t we talk about Friendships?

Managing friendships is something that is rarely talked about. Psychologists often deal with family dynamics, coaches (like me) with self love, there are many books on romantic relationships and how to deal with any differences. Even books on parenting are plentiful. Yet friendships is often a topic that is not talked about much in a philosophical or psychological context. Friendships just seem to be a thing that just happen to us. They exist sometimes, sometimes not and there is nothing more to it. Movies and books depict them as a connection between people that just somehow exist. Thelma and Louise, the kids from Stranger Things, Sex & the City, Frodo and Sam, Harry Potter & Ron. Not to forget the most obvious one – a TV show just called “Friends”. These people just bump into each other, become friends. There is always a fall out, just the one, and they find back to each other. Yet friendships are far more complex than that. Just as any relationship between people, it is complex and sometimes confusing. Where two people exist, friction occurs. But we often do not get much guidance when it comes to friendships.

There is little discussion out there on:

  • How do you make friends (especially when you are older)?
  • How do you keep friends/ remain friends over time?
  • Why should you become friends with someone and also – why shouldn’t you?
  • How do you get rid of friends that turn toxic?
  • How do you handle topics such as disappointment, jealousy, money?
  • How do I get friends like in Friends?
  • You lost a friend – how do you deal with this kind of break up?
  • You want to be friends with someone but they don’t want to be friends with you?
  • Can I live without any friends?

Friendships can be truly wonderful things. For many, they are a form of survival. Where parents or family lack, that is were often friends complete. Humans are herd animals. We want to be understood and excepted by our packs. At an early age this is family, yet already at puberty, the focus shifts outward. It is more important to be accepted by the herd than our families. But no one teaches us how to do it or what to do about it if you aren’t accepted.

Many teens struggle through this. And I will be honest – it does get a little easier with age, but it doesn’t go away. Friendships are vital to our existence. I fear often their importance is understated. We all carry around pain with us of a lost or disappointed friendship. Sometimes the pain is even deeper than the loss of a romantic relationship. Damaged or damaging friendships often leave us confused, insecure and hurt. It’s ok to mourn a friend just like you do a lover. Frequently we do not, hence the pain lingers around. Let’s try to let that go. Do as you did with an ex, give yourself some time to grief and work through that loss.

Join me for this series focused on friendship where we will answer all those questions mentioned above in that order.

Resilience By Rest

One theme keeps seems to popping up lately in my life. Now with various countries lifting lockdowns and multitudes of companies starting to ramp up their gears, I keep hearing notions similar to “We are stronger than before” or “We have come out of this tougher and better”. It makes we wonder a) if we really did because it seems like everyone wants to really pretend COVID never happend and b) why we have this need to feel like we have perseviered. We can’t just leave it at the fact that we have all suffered for months on end and that was the end of it. In true human nature, we seek to find something positive result out of suffering.

Recovering from toughness or difficulties is the definition of resilience. Resilience is a unique lifeskill that can be learned and developed, but somehow some people just have more of it naturally. It’s quite handy, a power we assign to superheros that no matter how hard a situation is, they are able to adapt to it and bounce back quickly, coming back better than before the battle instead of battered and beat. And we admire it about people around us, leaders that stay cool under pressure or people whose spirit and joy can never be shaken by the pitfalls of life. There’s a great book by Meg Jay called “Supernormal – the untold story of adversity and resilience” that explores this topic as to how some people not only overcome but also thrive thanks to adversities. The key element here is the fact that without difficulty and suffering, you will not build or grow any resilience. In other words, resilience is what you learnt out of a tough situation, an elasticity to adapt to it and to manage not only your surroundings but also your inner well being. As Meg Jay writes in her book “fighting on the outside is just as important as fighting on the inside. 

It is important to note that you will note that taking care of yourself is one of the main factors growing resilience. While they do say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” I rather refer to Nietzsche who said “in moderation, whatever doesn’t kill us might make us stronger”. Jumping off the second floor balcony might help you with a fear of heights but will not helpyou ability to walk. Finding out what you can handle and what you need in order to handle an adverse situation is key on coming out “stronger than before”.  

There is a saying “every opportunity is a chance to grow”, although I’d like to also ask why that may be true some opportunities are also a chance to watch Netflix in bed. Sometimes just recopering is growing. You can’t be the best runnerin  the world if all you do is run day in and day out. Even Usain Bolt has a day where he rests. Maybe two. Becoming tougher and stronger has a lot to do with self care and self love. So if you want to come out of tough times better and tougher, ask yourself what you need to get you through. Resilience will not come on day one, but on the day you figure out what you need to manage difficult times. Because as beautiful as life is, challenging times are just another part of it’s beauty. 

Lock down Lifted – Now What?

We’ve all been waiting for it. Since the day lock down or quarantine or circuit breaker (as they call it in Singapore) has been enforced, we have been looking forward to the day it was lifted. Even us ultra introverts who were not keen to get out, were keen to know the day our isolated existence would come to an end. Many of us suffered from this uncertainty – not sure how long it will last, how long we will have to fear getting the virus, will there be a cure and will things ever be the same again?

And even though many restrictions have been lifted, these uncertainties remain. Not only that, new uncertainties have been added to the pile. Will we have to lock down ever again? Will there be another surge? Will businesses open like before? How do I wear a mask appropriately when I’m in a restaurant? The imposed lock down may have ended, but not the worries and concerns around it. It’s not that life has gone back to how it was before the virus, but life has gone to a new phase with its own rules and rituals. I think many of us have not come to realize that.

Remember – no one has lived through this before. We can’t turn on the TV and a specialists tells us what will happen and how it will unfold. We are all in a puzzle here together at the same time. So – if you find yourself confused and anxious lately, remember that is a logical consequence of the times. I know a lot of people are keen to get back to a world where Covid never existed and will minimize it so they won’t have to be confronted with negative feelings. But the truth is, we are not and might not ever go back to the lives we had before for a very, very long time (till there is a vaccine, most likely).

I also don’t have a simple “this is how you deal with it” playbook. But here are some things that I have learned, some the hard way, and things people around me have shared:

  1. Keep doing what made you feel good during lock down.
    Did you find yourself reading more? Working out more? Enjoying a new hobby? If so – stick to it. Each part of your life is a part of you – even if it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. Take with you what you learned does you well. I noticed I stopped baking once lock down was lifted because it was my lock down hobby. Then I realized how stupid that was, I baked twice this weekend and felt so happy. I felt it had to stop because lock down stopped. Although there is no real reason for it. Bring the lock down goodies with you.
  2. Take Time
    Take time to figure out what works for you. If you are able to go into the office, ask if there are days you can work from home. If it’s been weeks and you don’t feel like any different than during lock down, remember that there is still a global pandemic going on – there is no logical reason why you should feel like life has gone back to the old normal. Give yourself time to figure out your schedule – try out different things to see what sticks for the time being.
  3. If you need to – lock yourself down
    Yep. I said it. If you feel you want some comfort and stability, go back to lock down life. Take a mental health day, live as if nothing changed until you are ready to let the new phase into your life. No one has ever made a good experience rushing into something. To borrow Elvis’ lyrics – only fools rush (in love – but you get the jest). You are reading this blog – which means you are not a fool. So you won’t rush into anything either will you?

There is no one size fits all, try it out, give yourself time and share your findings and tips!

Living with the Guilt Of a White Person

I probably fit every cliche of a white person. When leaving a restaurant I say “Let’s Rock’n’roll”, I get a sunburn while sitting in a car and wearing sunblock, I grew up in a suburb with a back yard with parents who listened to U2 and The Doors. Our neighbourhood was wonderfully wholesome and diverse. I grew up around Chinese, took Maori culture classes, had Samoan friends, went to eat dinner at South African’s homes and was never encouraged to see them differently. In fact, I was encourage to explore and embrace other cultures as mine was so bland and predictable.

I am white. And I have been aware of that for a while now in my life, but ever so much during these times of right protest. I am not American and thus do not share their history. Just because I am not American, doesn’t mean that the Black Lives Matter Movement or racial issues in the USA shouldn’t impact me. It doesn’t mean we should look away but rather that we should reflect on our lives and how we white people have contributed to inequality even if we have consciously tried not to do so. We don’t all have to go through the same things to learn from one another. Like we don’t all need to go through a war to know that they are horrible. We should use other people’s painful experiences to avoid our own. Even if my country is not going through such extremes as in the US, I don’t think any white person out there has not benefited from the colour of their skin, if we want to admit it our not.

I know if I go to the police I will be listened to. I know my story will get heard and I will be believed. I never have to consider that someone of another race doing the same job as me is getting paid more. In fact, I am actually sure that they aren’t.
I never have to worry if a doctor will believe me or if he will refuse to treat me.
No one asks me ever if I can afford to be in a place – actually the opposite, when I am in places or at events that are way out of my pay grade and lifestyle people just assume I belong there – even when I don’t.

These are just a few things in my everyday life that I have the privilege of receiving. Not just in my home country but also anywhere I travel to in the world. I wear this armor of protection around me, that no one in my ancestry had anything to do with and also, had to do anything for. I’ve been silently profiting from racial inequality, painfully unaware of the injustice I am causing. And there is so little I can do about it.

That’s what fuels the guilt. The world treats me better without my consent and there is nothing I can do to change how I am being treated. I can however use this guilt to make sure I don’t actively contribute to it. I can use it to fuel action – I can speak up for my colleagues, support them in getting equal wages by openly stating my wage. I can hire diversely to make sure my staff are hired for their merit and not the name or the college they went to. I can tell off people for being racist, I can educate other white people of their ignorance and I can be there for my friends to support their causes. Which will never be enough, but is the least we can do in our position.
But nothing I will do will ever, ever influence how much better I am being treated. And living with the knowledge of this entitlement and acknowledging the injustice is one of the few things we can do to live with this guilt. But the most important thing is never, never letting the guilt go. We have been found guilty by the court and we should accept our sentence because apathy and ignorance are the roots of evil (read Hanna Arendt to learn more about this amazing concept). Use this guilt as a trajectory to face injustice, but don’t let it go.