Everywhere you look lately it seems to be more bad news. You watch the television, read a newspaper or search the web and what do you see? A floundering economy, war, murder, abuse, fear, rape, inequality, lack of cooperation, hatred, and dishonesty. What for? When will it end? What will it take for people to understand that this needs to stop or we are all going down the toilet together?
Our future, notice I said OUR future, is the collective responsibility of every single one of us. We cannot point our fingers at another individual or toward a situation outside of ourselves and say that they are to blame for the state of things right now. Change starts inside each one of us. This is not something we can leave to our children or future generations to fix because it is affecting us right now. It hinders the way in which we live, thrive, love and enjoy life. Change begins with you.
The first change we need to make is this issue of "pride" that is plaguing our species right now. At what costs do we defend our pride? How many people must lose their lives, their well being, their children, their parents, their brothers, sisters or friends before we realize just how pointless it all is? You may think that you have been "wronged" in some way, but is it worth losing your happiness, life or wellbeing, or that of your loved ones just to save your pride? I certainly hope not. True self confidence and respect is achieved when we learn to love ourselves. As long as we love ourselves there is no need for pride, status or anything else of that nature.
Pride for your country does not matter. Pride for your race or religion does not matter. Pride for yourself or your family does not matter. Having compassion, kindness and unconditional love for each other and for ourselves DOES matter. We need to look past our differences and begin to treat each other as family. If we can learn to forgo pride, we can greatly reduce war, murder, fear, inequality and hatred in our world, and what an improvement that would be!
The next change we need to make is forgiveness. Contrary to popular belief, forgiveness is not something you do on behalf of the person who has wronged you, it is something you do for yourself. When we harbor ill will toward another person we aren't harming them, we are harming ourselves. Hatred, anger or resentment can make you ill, it can cloud your thoughts, it can waste your energy and make it harder for you to achieve anything worthwhile. By forgiving someone you are not surrendering, condoning their actions or handing them the victory. You do not even need to like the person or welcome them back into your heart or home. By forgiving you are simply reclaiming your life, your energy, your happiness and your wellbeing from their grasp. By forgiving you are making the choice to stop letting them hurt you and you are making the choice to stop hurting yourself. Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things we can do in life, but as with anything that comes with great effort it also holds the greatest rewards. By learning how to forgive, we can significantly reduce war, murder, fear, abuse, and hatred in our world all while achieving inner peace for ourselves.
After forgiveness comes the need for us to have compassion for one another. True compassion should come from the heart and not through compliance to laws or from the fear of consequences. Compassion is far above compliance or civility. True compassion comes from loving and respecting another as you do yourself. True compassion means treating others as you would like to be treated. True compassion means to do no harm and offer help when needed. Compassion means to think of how YOU would feel if the roles were reversed before acting. Compassion means to see and treat every other being as your equal. Compassion means to do your part to end pain WHEREVER you see it.
Compassion should extend beyond humans to our animal friends as well. How can we be truly compassionate if we ignore their cries and pain just because they cannot speak our language? If we turn a blind eye to the pain of anyone living being we can turn a blind eye to them all, including our fellow man. If people could ONLY be compassionate there would be no more war, no more murder, no more abuse, no more rape, no more inequality, no more lack of cooperation, no more hatred, and no more dishonesty.
Can you imagine how wonderful the world would be if everyone was compassionate and kind? If everyone was forgiving, loving, helpful and cooperative. If we accepted, included and protected one another. If people were caring, understanding and sympathetic toward one another. If people recognized the beauty in all others and appreciated them for it. If people were thoughtful and considerate. If people were honest. If people loved themselves and each other enough to value our collective safety, happiness and wellbeing above everything else. Oh, what a world that would be!
Many people will think that I am utopian when I say this, but it IS possible to achieve. Perhaps not in this lifetime, but maybe it can be a reality for our children or grandchildren. When we make the changes within ourselves that we would like to see, we influence those who we come into contact with. Start with YOU. Learn how to ditch your pride, work on loving and accepting yourself, practice forgiveness and develop compassion for yourself and for others. Let go of negativity such as fear, guilt, worry and sorrow. Do simple things throughout your day to lift up those around you. Give smiles and compliments to people wherever you see them. Hold open doors for people, talk to one another, get to know each other and offer your help and understanding. Do your best and live honestly. Think positively. Focus on things you enjoy and spend quality time with the people you love. When you are happy, fulfilled and full of love, you have more to offer to the world. It is that simple. One person at a time can expand to encompass cities, then eventually countries and the entire planet, but it always begins with you.
Disclaimer: this article is intended for inspirational purposes only and the techniques and ideas described herein are not to be used as a substitute for professional medical or psychological treatment or without prior consultation with, approval of, and under the supervision of your physician or therapist. Application of the information, techniques and ideas in this article is at the sole risk and discretion of the reader.
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