How many of us have felt embroiled in the chaos of the world around us? Where fear, greed, turmoil, envy, jealousy, divisiveness and success at all costs are common place? When did this become the norm? When did tearing others down become the way to build ourselves up? Is this really the example we want to set for our children? Nothing survives in such a toxic environment.
I grew up in an age that touted the golden rule. Remember that adage? A simply stated yet profoundly powerful message:
“Do unto others as you’d have done to you.”
It says it all. Be kind, thoughtful, caring, understanding, sympathetic, courteous to others and they’ll be that way with you.
Have you ever tried to argue with someone who won’t argue back? Someone who patiently lets you finish speaking and honors your concerns, leaving you feeling like they heard your point of view, apologized for their role in any misunderstanding, and wanted to make it right?
It can’t be done. Try it sometime. It’s amazing how quickly a rapidly escalating argument is deflated, rather than responding in kind and saying things that can’t be retracted. It’s time we took a step back and realized we are only as strong as the atmosphere we create. If it’s one of community and communication, how can we fail to thrive?
A story came out in 1993 claiming that when 4000 people grouped together to meditate in Washington D.C., a city with a crime rate three times the national average, the crime rate dropped by 23%. The drop was attributed to the communal gathering of only good thoughts! Whether you believe this or not, there’s no question we all perform better with a positive attitude in a positive environment. Why then, is it so hard to encourage and maintain?
Maybe we don’t need to look for 4000 of our best friends. Maybe we need only look at the one we can definitely impact- ourselves! Each of us needs to look at our own attitudes, behaviors, words and the example we set. Do we reflect an openness that encourages discussion? Are we aware of others’ thoughts and needs, or only focus on our own? We don’t live in a bubble. As seen in the Washington DC effort, we can turn hateful, harmful, negative attitudes into positive ones that will radiate outward. That wave of energy can, and does, have a powerful effect. Only through conversation and sharing can we begin to have a dialogue that brings us closer together. Agreement isn’t always possible, but civility must be. We can remain individuals while collectively pushing ourselves and others to higher heights. Let’s make that the goal. It’s those differences that often open our eyes to new options or answers we may have never considered.
When our uniqueness is added to our common desire to grow and thrive as a society, there are no limits.
– Dr. Courtney