Can We Heal?

Shawnee Love   •   June 10, 2021

You don’t have to look very far around or back to recognize human beings do terrible things to each other individually and institutionally or societally.

Sometimes those horrible things are intentional and sometimes not. While ignorance isn’t a defence, it is a reality. People behave how they know. I hope our children and children’s children can forgive us for what we have unknowingly done today. And at the same time, I own my own responsibility to learn and grow and do better while I can. When I know better, I will do better.

I believe we, in Canada, are being forced to come to terms with the fact that some things can’t be erased or corrected. Money doesn’t bring people back or erase their loss. Thoughts and prayers don’t erase generations of hurt and trauma. Some things can’t be undone.

I believe all we can do is learn to accept them and find a way to live better going forward. Better, in spite of and sometimes because of, those traumas which have tempered our resiliency and polished our self-awareness.

Easy for me to say given I haven’t lost a loved one or been abused due to my race, sexual preference or gender identity. As a white, middle-aged woman of indeterminate spiritual faith and cultural background, it is easy to assume my life has been easy. I have benefited from the privileges of my circumstances for sure. At the same time, I have lost and had to come to terms with things never being the same again. Those experiences don’t make me understand how it feels to be someone else, but they do make me empathetic and want to do better. When its my time, I’d like to leave the world just a little bit better for those who come after. I own my own responsibility personally, but also as a business owner and leader in my own small circle, I think I have a role to play.

Both individually and societally, I believe it all starts with learning what has actually transpired. Fortunately, people who have experienced pain or trauma often want to be heard and may be willing to share their stories. Through listening and reading, we come to understand not how it feels for those who have suffered, but how we might feel to experience the same prejudices and harms for that about ourselves which we cannot and would not change.

I also know that real lasting change must be inclusive of everyone. All races, religions, genders, ages, etc. must contribute. There will be no lasting solution if First Nations people and non-First Nations don’t work together, if Muslim and Christian aren’t heard, if cis and trans, straight and gay, masculine and feminine, old and young, and those who identify as all or none of the previous, aren’t part of the dialogue.

I hope this blog will open up dialogue to help me and all who are ready to be part of this necessary change to do better going forward than we have in the past.