It seems as if the world is becoming more cruel every day. As though people now feel entitled to say and act on the hateful things they've been keeping in before. Hidden. Because we see it every day in the news now doesn't mean it hasn't always been happening, it's just more exposed now.
It's exhausting isn't it? I mean, even the really really good stuff. It's just all too much sometimes. And those of us in recovery from something are hit hard with the no release button. All the emotions and feelings we hid from before are smack in our faces ALL THE TIME and it's just too gd much.
If I've learned anything from working a 12 step program (kind of, I mean bits and pieces), it's to keep it simple. We love to over-complicate things.
THE GOLDEN RULE (One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself) ACTUALLY WORKS IF YOU WORK IT. Of course we cannot make anybody else adhere to this "rule". That's about the hardest part. It's about empathy. Trying to think how it would feel to be in their shoes. It has changed my life.
I use this method with my 3 year olds all the time. "Would you like it if he/she said/did that to you?" Then they think and answer honestly that no, no they wouldn't and usually that leads to an apology and a better, more kind decision on their actions. MOST TIMES. lol. This morning when she ran off with all the puzzle pieces, it stopped her dead in her tracks when it clicked that she wouldn't like it if he did that and she came right back and said SORRY GAH.
I am a person drawn to the darkness, yet I fight and claw against that every single day. So it can appear that I am cheerful and happy go lucky, but oh that is so wrong. When you've been sober for a while, you appreciate that everything every single day is a miracle gift that you shouldn't even have and that's no exaggeration, but I still have the right to complain now and again. And some days it just seems that humans are terrible. Everywhere you look there is terrible -
People are just mean. Just poking the bear, making fun of people's weaknesses and faults, mean. It seems to me everyone has skeletons in their closet and you best be sure nobody shines a light in yours.
People will criticize everything you love and tell you it's wrong to love it. People will try to crush your joy simply because they don't understand or haven't found theirs yet.
People are terrible. Just terrible awful terrible. I mean, like scum of the earth terrible.
People are awful to each other in huge monumental ways and the smallest of ways and both can smash you to a bloody pulp if you let it.
People are awful to each other based on race or religion or gender and it's not getting better even though it's 2016.
It's defeating, isn't it?
And then......when you least expect it......
People are lovely.
People encourage you to do more, to do your best even when you don't want to do your best. I want to just kind of coast for a while, but still, I mean, thank you.
People get vulnerable and admit their weaknesses and we start to bond with each other. When we show each other who we really are, we can really love on each other.
People show up and show out for each other in ways that are truly extraordinary. And the tiniest ways can have the greatest impact. Changing an entire day/week/LIFE.
People continue to surprise me in the very best ways. For as many terrible awful monstrous deeds as there are daily, look around and find the good. I promise you, they are there.
People are incredibly kind and thoughtful and it really does make all the difference. People pay attention. Not just kids. It all comes back to you - that karma thing don't you know.
So we get back up and try again -
We need to be kind. We need to just for one second think what it must be like to be that person. We have no real idea. We need to act on that notion of kindness. Not only because we are models for our kids, but because we want to be kind. We want to be kind. WE WANT TO BE KIND. And that kindness is returned. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
Being a human is hard. Some have it WAY WORSE than others. Racism, sexism, addiction, poverty, war, famine, abuse and torture and murder, unfathomable sickness -- THOSE are the problems. We need to recognize that. We need to fight against THAT. Not this petty bullshit. The Golden Rule works.
So many other things we get riled up about are just not important. WHO CARES. Save your care giving for issues that demand your real energy. Just because I'm not shouting doesn't mean I don't RAGE.
When I started really practicing gratitude and empathy, my outlook upon life changed.
This "bootstraps" thing doesn't work. Let's stop that if I can do it you can do it. Let's just grant some grace and be kind.
WE NEED TO HELP EACH OTHER THROUGH IT. Every day. We need to care for each other and ourselves the way we want to be cared for. We feel better when we GET OUTSIDE OF OUR MISERABLE SELVES FOR A MINUTE.
You might be surprised by how kindness is received, taken in and then returned or passed on. People continually surprise me. In terrible ways of course., but if I'm really honest, in fabulously kind ways too. Let's do that instead. Surprise each other with unexpected kindness.
We need to allow people to make mistakes. We need to forgive. For ourselves. We need to extend the grace that was extended to us. Unless it is harmful to others, we need to go easy on each other, including ourselves. I HAVE SEEN PEOPLE CHANGE. I believe in these miracles because I see it happen every day. You never know what could be the cause. It might be you.
Couldn't we all use a freaking break? I've got a ton of leftover veggie baked mostaccioli in the fridge that I'm going to heat up. You want some? Come here. Sit. Breathe.
That damn golden rule. Making this shit that is so hard on the daily seem - really and truly - quite simple. So simple my three year olds can grasp it, so why can't we adults?
Let's keep being the change we want to see in the world. My recovery and my life depends on it. I hope yours does to. So that's what I'm doing. I'm choosing empathy and kindness over and over and over. Even when it's really hard. I don't know what else to do.
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