Caring in a world of self-absorption
August 10, 2014
I am a big fan of Seth Godin and his way of putting things both simply yet very effectively. This post called This is ours really struck at my heart. This last sentence says it all:
Over and over, we see that tribes and communities and organizations are able to teach people that this is ours, that it’s worth taking care of and most of all, that people like us care for things like this.
This world often seems to reward or to accept that we should each be out for ourselves over the common good, whether in our personal life or professional lives. I am glad someone has crystallized this thought that having care for others is important. We may not know someone, or know their circumstances, or we may be intimately involved in trying to put others before ourselves, but however we are reacting, it effects people, our workplaces, and our lives.
Caring is worth it–and I think we should make it NOT OK to not be considerate of others.
I also loved Ann Curry’s 26 Acts of Kindness. Taking time to think of others in a positive way on a regular basis makes the world a more positive place.
Here are some examples we can be aware of or undertake to facilitate more caring at home or work:
- Watch how you comment. Rude or aggressive comments that only serve to belittle the original poster shouldn’t be tolerated. Constructive criticism or even well-thought out criticism is important, but personal attacks should not be.
- Consider the needs of those other than yourself. It is easy to fall into the trap of asking for a good listener when you need it, but then not being a good listener when it isn’t convenient for you. Put yourself in another person’s place and be willing to give as much or more than what you take.
- Appreciate your loved ones, even if you aren’t in a good place yourself. Consider the hurt and harm you cause when living only for yourself and ask yourself if effecting so many people negatively is the best way. Often you effect not just one or two people, but sometimes dozens.
- Be kind at work. We don’t pick these people but interact with them for hours a day. Don’t bring your issues to work, but realize others may and give them their space and your understanding.
- It sounds cheesy, but a kind word, a smile, an encouragement to someone at work or in your social circle can make all the difference between a bad day and a day that you can put it the “I made it through without crying today” day.
Caring and kindness need to be cultivated and we need to lead by example. As Mr. Godin says, “this is ours”, we have a right to it, and we need to embrace it and be brave about demanding a better society.