Tonight the world is watching and praying as terror attacks continue to unfold in London. We know there have been attacks in three locations: London Bridge, Borough Market, and Vauxhall. A van crashed into pedestrians, men wielding knives stabbed citizens, and gunshots have been heard.
Barely 2 weeks have passed since the cowardly attack on concert-goers (many children) in Manchester. Barely 2 weeks since the crisis in Marawi began. Barely a week since Christians were slaughtered in Minya. A few days since the devastating explosions in Baghdad and Kabul. And now this.
I don’t wish to comment about politics at this time. Suffice to say, I believe the emergency services from the armed forces to the paramedics and everyone offering their services are doing a phenomenal job. The law makers in government? Not so much.
I do wish to put voice to one overwhelming sentiment rising in my chest. My heart goes out to all affected by not only the London terror attack tonight but anyone affected by the sickness that is terrorism all over the world.
But, perhaps most importantly, my heart goes out to you.
We can talk about policy and speculate about what we need to do to stop this tragedy from repeating another time.
For now I just want to talk about you and me and what we can take away from this disgusting tragedy.
I want to talk briefly about 2 things: love and strength.
When attacks like this happen, perspective should rear its head.
It could have been you.
Every day we step out of our house and it’s never a guarantee that we will return. Spouses could leave for work never to return. Children could leave for school never to return.
Attacks should be a wake-up call in our own lives to:
- Appreciate loved ones
- Drop petty squabbles
- Say ‘I love you’
Should you be lucky enough to spend another day with the ones you love, be present in their company.
Practice patience with the ones you love.
Listen to what your spouse, children, friends say.
Let your loved ones know they are appreciated.
‘I love you’ can be the most difficult thing to say. Especially to those closest to you. Especially if, like many people, you’re not used to saying it or hearing it.
But if you can’t say the actual words, make sure the ones closest to you still know it.
There is more than one way to say ‘I love you’:
Dr Chapman asserts that there are 5 love languages:
- Gift giving
- Physical touch
- Spending quality time
- Acts of service (devotions)
- Words of affirmation (e.g. “I love you”)
Which one are you most comfortable with?
Which one would your loved ones most like to receive?
Ensure that you regularly show love in these ways to those that matter.
When a tragedy like this terrorist attack happens, it’s easy to get caught up in the macro. What are we going to do? How can we stop this if it’s a global problem?
But first we have to begin with ourselves before we effect big changes.
It goes like this (thanks to Scott Adams for discussing this):
Ourselves > our immediate circle (e.g. family, friends) > our country > our world
We can’t tackle the big problem until we start to make things right close to us.
And we do that by treating the people we love the way they deserve.
We do that by appreciating the fragility of life.
Every day might be our last.
Treat the people close to you well and don’t take them for granted. But also treat your fellow countrymen well. As you go through the world, have consideration for everyone you interact with. I like to remind myself that others might be harbouring deep pain and that we should treat those around us with compassion.
As well as showing love to the ones who matter, we have to be strong.
A lot of people appreciated this post I wrote a while back:
While many saw the article’s value, I still got numerous responses from people calling me ‘paranoid’.
Apparently I am paranoid for advocating a Navy SEAL practice of always looking for 3 exits when entering a place.
Apparently I am paranoid for advocating keeping your eyes open for dodgy people or strange situations.
Apparently I am paranoid for advocating action without hesitation.
I don’t give a single fuck how many people call me ‘paranoid’. Because as far as I’m concerned the people who say that are oblivious.
Yes, disasters happen and often it doesn’t matter how mentally and physically prepared you are. Navy SEALS still die. So do police officers. So do bodyguards.
But that is not an excuse for eschewing strength. That is not an excuse for being oblivious.
Training yourself to be situationally aware and physically strong is of immense value not only to yourself but to those around you because you stack the odds in your favour.
When an attack happens, you want to have the strength, conditioning, and mental fortitude to:
- Escape intact
- Protect your loved ones from harm
- Aid those in need of rescue (like the elderly, young, or infirm)
So call me ‘paranoid’ all you want but I hope you become a bit more ‘paranoid’ too.
Always be aware of what’s happening around you.
Trust your gut. If something feels wrong, it probably is.
Keep yourself healthy and in peak condition.
When something goes down, you may just stand a greater chance of being a help rather than a hindrance. Or worse. A statistic.
Strength and love are 2 sides to the same coin
It takes a lot of strength to tell people you love them and to treat your fellow man or woman with respect, consideration, and compassion
It also takes a lot of love to make and keep yourself strong. If you need motivation to hit the gym, eat healthy, or learn how to be situationally aware, just realise that we live in a world where tragedy can strike at any moment. Are you going to be able to help the ones you love or not?