Our Inherent Good – A #1000Speak Post

We can easily strike up a debate about the inherent nature of humans.

Are we inherently good? Or are qualities like goodness, kindness, and compassion learned behaviors? Are they the product of nature or nurture?

It’s easy to look at today’s headlines about the tragic events plaguing our world, and say no, there is no good.

 

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And that much is true, of course; there is much hate and negativity in the world right now. There always has been. But I will argue that if you look through all of that, you will find good everywhere.  You will find stories of courage and compassion, stories about people doing great things and small to show another that they matter. We can probably swap headlines one-for-one, but at the end of our discussion, I will still insist that the vast majority of people are, for the most part and with the exception of certain extreme circumstances, essentially good at heart, at least most of the time.

Because no one is perfect. And because that’s true, maybe we don’t always do good things. Maybe we are not always good to one another, but even so we were not created to be evil.

You will say that’s hard to believe, given the violence and hate and anger we see in the headlines every day. That’s because media loves conflict. There is no drama when things are going well and everyone is satisfied – and the media hates that. The media wants you fired up, angry, ready to engage in a battle of opinion with anyone who wants to engage. It is the media’s job to tell you what to care about, what you should be afraid of, and who is to blame for whatever is wrong with your world. If only we saw half as much positive in the headlines – philanthropy, service, community spirit, and more – we would remember those good things and look for more.

Right now negativity prevails. But think about where a lot of the violence and hate and anger comes from. It comes from individuals’ desire to do something good, something just. Perhaps their actions or intentions are misguided. But if we reason to the root of things, we will so often see that people are angry because they want to be heard. People lash out at others because they want justice for those they see as oppressed and downtrodden. They speak up and act out because they want to effect change. And I think we’re really good at that – championing the underdogs, championing our causes. Most of the time. Except for the misguided few.

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But I’m going to stop here. I don’t really want to debate whether people are inherently good because I have my answer – we are and I can show you proof. (The story is on my Facebook page.)

Today, I want to talk about an area in which we as humans are not good, an area in which we fail to be good and compassionate day after day, an area that if left unchecked leads to so many other problems. We humans may be inherently good, but we are not inherently good to ourselves.

Most of us at one time or another have treated ourselves more harshly than we would ever treat a friend or family member, or even a complete stranger.

We criticize and shame our bodies.

We minimize our gifts and talents.

We emphasize our bad habits and flaws.

We tell ourselves that we don’t deserve happiness, success, love, respect, or a nap. We push too hard and go too long and we don’t say no for fear that we might disappoint someone if we don’t take on one more thing that is simply too much to handle.

We do not care for ourselves. We do not make the choice to take care of our minds, bodies, hearts. We are simply not good to ourselves.

And that is a problem.

When we don’t love ourselves, we can’t love anyone else. If we do not know how to care for ourselves, to treat ourselves with gentleness and compassion, how can we do it for anyone else? We cannot be happy for others, we can not lift them up and support them. We can not rejoice with them or cry with them. Perhaps we go through the motions, give a good external facsimile of what we deem “good.” But that is too difficult to sustain for very long.

And it doesn’t stop there. The problem does not rest with a simple inability to show compassion for others. It becomes something much more complicated, something much worse. Without self-love and compassion, we begin to treat others just as poorly. We treat others not merely with a lack of a compassion and kindness, but with distinct and specific hatred, cruelty, and jealousy. We refuse to see other points of view. We fail to respect the beliefs, practices, or personal space of other people. We want our own voice to be heard so badly that we become misguided in our approach. Rather than caring for our Selves so that we can in turn care for others, we destroy our selves and have nothing left to offer. Feeling inadequate makes us lash out and bring anyone we can down to our own level of misery.

And so it becomes clear that in order to heal the world, we must first heal ourselves. In order to be compassionate to others, we must first be compassionate with ourselves. It’s just like the flight attendants stress in that pre-flight safety speech – put on your own oxygen mask on first, then take care of the guy next to you. If you can’t breathe, you are of no help to him.

Shaking our heads at the bad news and grumbling about how the world is going to hell in a hand basket isn’t going to change anything. Neither is overwhelming ourselves with worry that we can never change enough to make any difference. Before we set out to stop all the negativity in the world, we have to stop the negativity in our own minds.

Be good to yourself. Be kind to yourself. Acknowledge and embrace your imperfections. Let the good that lives inside all of us rise to the surface and ripple outward. And be amazed at how much good you see around you.

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1000 Voices

 

This month, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion continues to work toward a better world with a focus on inherent compassion. 

Write a relevant post and add it to the link-up right here by clicking the blue button below.

 

Join 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion on Facebook

Visit the 1000Speak blog

Follow @1000Speak on Twitter

Use the #1000Speak hashtag across social media.

#1000Speak – A Home Remedy for the World

It’s 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion link-up time again! This month I’m “guest hosting” over at the 1000Speak blog. I have a guest post up over there, A Home Remedy for the World, so please hop over and check it out. You can also link your own post via the linky tool there.

Later this week, I’ll have a guest post to share from my lovely friend Kristi Campbell who blogs over at Finding Ninee. You’ll definitely want to check out her guest post as well.

1000 Voices

In the meantime, here’s how to get involved with 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion:

Join 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion on Facebook

Visit the 1000Speak blog

Follow @1000Speak on Twitter

Use the #1000Speak hashtag across social media.

This month’s link up is open and ready for your posts and will remain open until June 28th.  You can link up right here, or via the post on the 1000Speak blog. Join us and help us work toward a more compassionate world!

 

#1000Speak April Link-Up: Compassion and Vulnerability

Somehow, another month has passed and here we are at the 20th of the month – time for another 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion link-up!

I honestly don’t know if I’ll make it in with a post this month, but at the very  least, here is your avenue to link your own post and check out the words of others!

This month, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion continues to work toward a better world with a focus on Compassion and Vulnerability.

Write a relevant post and add it to the link-up right here by clicking the blue button below.

Here’s how to get involved:

Join 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion on Facebook

Visit the 1000Speak blog

Follow @1000Speak on Twitter

Use the #1000Speak hashtag across social media.

1000 Voices


Choose Happiness – A #1000Speak Post

What makes you happy?

No, it’s not a trick question. I’m serious. Sit down. Close your eyes and think about it for a few minutes.

Now, answer the question: What makes you happy?

 

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The answer, of course, will differ for everyone. The things, experiences, even people that bring us joy are as varied as we are. Maybe you said your family or friends make you happy. Maybe it’s seeing your grandchildren’s faces on the computer screen when you Skype with them. Maybe you said ice cream makes you happy or a walk on the beach or shopping or your dog. Maybe you said that kindness and compassion make you happy. Maybe it’s the smell of cookies baking or your Grandmother’s pot roast on a Sunday afternoon.

No matter what your answer, it’s a good one.

Let’s keep going. I’m out on a limb here, but my suspicion is that you – like most people – listed outside sources for your happiness. Am I right? But did you think of anything within yourself or anything about yourself that makes you happy?

Continue reading “Choose Happiness – A #1000Speak Post”

TToT – Catching Up, Transitions, and Change

I can’t help but think lately that life is a constant string of transitions.

We spend most of our lives moving from one phase to another: from youth to adulthood, from school to work, from one relationship to another, from one job to another…our movement is constant and sure. That’s not to say that we don’t enjoy each phase as we live through it. But eventually, we have to pick up and move on. We cannot stay in one place forever – at least not if we intend to grow and develop as human beings. Standing water only becomes stagnant and the path not traveled is a lonely one indeed.

 

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These transitions often seem to crop up just when we’ve gotten comfortable where we are. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s best if we don’t let life catch up to us for too long. Maybe it’s best if transition and change happen before we’re quite ready to move on. I have a mug here on my desk that tells me “Life begins outside your comfort zone.” Maybe it does. If we aren’t prompted to move along through life, it is much to easy to settle into the right now and see it as a final destination, rather than a stop along the journey.

And life really must be a journey.  Continue reading “TToT – Catching Up, Transitions, and Change”

Celebrating One Year of Compassion – A #1000Speak Post

I want to tell you a story.

It’s a simple story – very short, truly sweet. It’s the story of a little girl who saw someone in need and acted with compassion. This little girl was on the school recess yard with a friend, playing whatever things little girls do on the school recess yard at lunchtime.

It was one of those days in the very late fall where some people feel cold and others feel warm. The second little girl had left her coat in the classroom and was cold. And so the first little girl removed her own coat and gave it to her friend to wear until the end of recess.

 

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That little girl – the one who gave away her coat – is my daughter.

My husband and I learned what she did from a teacher who had witnessed it firsthand. The whole thing took seconds. There was no debate, no pretense; she just saw a need and acted upon it. It very nearly brought me to my knees and most certainly brought me to tears. Continue reading “Celebrating One Year of Compassion – A #1000Speak Post”

1000 Voices Speak for Compassion – January 2016 Link-Up

It’s hard to believe, but 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion is one year old!

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For the last year, bloggers all over the world have been joining our voices and sharing our words each month to talk about topics related to Compassion so we can help flood the world with goodness. Continue reading “1000 Voices Speak for Compassion – January 2016 Link-Up”

1000 Voices Speak for Compassion – December Link-Up

It’s that time again, friends!

1000 VoicesThis month, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion continues to work toward a better world with a particular focus on the broad topic of compassion.

Write a post relevant to this month’s focus – compassion – and add it to the link-up by clicking the blue button below.

Here’s how to get involved:

Join 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion on Facebook

Visit the 1000Speak blog

Follow @1000Speak on Twitter

Use the #1000Speak hashtag across social media.

Write your own post about compassion and link up with us right here: 

Having Gratitude for Hardship – A #1000Speak Post

I’ve been thinking for weeks about my post for this month’s 1000 Voices for Compassion link-up. Weeks.

My #1000Speak efforts are most often fall under the umbrella of self-compassion – something I know so many of us struggle with and need to remember to practice. For some reason, I just couldn’t marry the gratitude theme to the self-compassion theme. The one idea I liked, I rejected.

It occurred to me (finally) that I had already written my #1000Speak post – I just didn’t realize it. So this post has already appeared on my blog, but it is also what I want to say for this month’s link-up on Gratitude. It was written last week for Kristi’s Finish the Sentence Friday hop. The prompt asked us to consider the hardship we are most thankful for having experienced in our lives…

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Let me tell you something about hardship.

You are never prepared for it.

You can tell yourself that you are. You can tell yourself that you’ve thought through all the possibilities that could befall you and can handle whatever life hurls at you. But no matter how much you think you’re prepared, when that moment comes – and I can assure you that it will come – the world will grow dark and it will bring you to your knees.

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You can believe your own half-humorous claims that your position in life is secure because they’ll never find another fool to do your job for what they pay you. But the truth is they will. Not only will they find someone to do your job, but they will find someone to do it for even less than they’re paying you.

Three and a half years ago, my Husband lost his job. We had no suspicion, no warning. There was only a seemingly sudden decision that his services would no longer be required. We were devastated. He had spent eleven years of his time, energy, and talent on that position – sometimes to the detriment of other aspects of our lives. He worked hard and cared about his work. But suddenly, circumstances beyond our control left us standing, mouths agape, utterly shocked. Continue reading “Having Gratitude for Hardship – A #1000Speak Post”

Self-Love is Hard; Self-Reproach is Easier – A #1000Speak Post

Let me tell you something about self-love:

Self-love is very difficult to practice when you’re feeling down on yourself.

 

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It should come as no surprise that I’ve opted for the self-compassion route again this #1000Speak link-up – that’s been my focus all along. Of course, it’s been a couple of months since I’ve actually contributed an original post… I’ve been very busy letting life get in the way and finding excuses not to post and link-up…

It won’t be good enough…

I have nothing valuable to say…

I can’t write about what I’m not doing well myself…

My words don’t matter.

I’m willing to bet that you have said or thought at least one of these in your recent past. I know I have. I know many who do. But why? Why do we so readily find ways to opt out? Why do we work so hard at explaining our failures before we even make an attempt? Continue reading “Self-Love is Hard; Self-Reproach is Easier – A #1000Speak Post”