It is my hope that the twenty-first century will be a century when a more caring, responsible, and compassionate humanity will emerge. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
As we start a New Year, it’s a great time to renew our callings as humans. While the 21st century is over 1/10th of the way through, we can still work to make it a better century. The quote lists three goals for humanity, to be more caring, to be more responsible, and to be more compassionate.
While we cannot force the rest of humanity to work on those traits, we can work on them ourselves. We can lead by example. We can work on ourselves and try to help our friends become more caring, more responsible and more compassionate.
If these traits aren’t part of your normal life, it may seem hard at first. If traits are already part of your normal life, it may seem hard to get any better at it than you already are. In either case, I think it’s worth a try.
Why are caring, responsibility, and compassion important?
These three together are, in my opinion, the key components of love. Love for ourselves, love for those who are close to us, and love for the rest of humanity. We have to start with ourselves, as it is difficult, if not impossible, to love others without first loving oneself.
Love, then, is being concerned, accountable, and sympathetic towards yourself and towards others. They must first be directed inwards, and then towards others. For me, it has gone through cycles, where I often have to go back and improve myself before I can improve my ability to help others.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Where can you show concern for yourself and others? I would start by looking inward, looking for bad habits you have, and being concerned for how they impact your health, wealth, and well-being. What are you putting in your body, mind and spirit that is to their detriment? If you look at your actions in this manner, does it cause you to be concerned? I hope so.
What do you see others doing that causes you to be concerned? Start with those closest to you, and think about each person briefly and think about what they do that causes you to be concerned for any aspect of their life, health or happiness. Hopefully, you can feel a bit of an ache within you as you are thinking of these things.
What can you do to help yourself and those you care about? Grab some paper and jot down a few notes to yourself. What are you going to work on within yourself, and what can you do to help the other people in your life, without being a busybody and a nag?
Where can you be accountable for yourself and others? I would start, again, by looking inwards. What do you do that you know you shouldn’t do? Why are you still doing them? Why aren’t you being accountable to yourself? Whatever the excuse is, get past it, and hold your feet to the fire.
What do you allow others to do that you are supposed to be helping them, but are not? Are you supposed to be helping someone with their diet by not going back for thirds or a second dessert? Are you allowing them to eat a fourth piece of cake or light up a cigarette, when you’re supposed to be helping them quit? Note that there is a difference between intruding into someone’s life and having been asked by them to help hold them accountable.
Add to your paper a list of aspects of your life where you need to hold yourself more accountable. Then add some of things others have asked you to help them with and how you can help them with being accountable.
Where can you be sympathetic towards yourself and others? What do you do that you beat yourself up over? Being accountable to yourself doesn’t mean you have to beat your self up when you fail. Show yourself some sympathy, and promise to work both smarter, as well as harder, next time.
What do others do that you can show sympathy towards? I always try to remember that other people have rough days too. I tend to have a lot of sympathy for people who are making mistakes I have made in the past. I try to help them (not all are receptive) with my experiences and what little wisdom I possess on the topic.
Add to your paper a list of the aspects of your life where you could show yourself a little more compassion. Then add some of the situations where you could show sympathy towards others. By now, you should have a pretty big list. Don’t worry, you have the rest of the century to get it done. 8)
But don’t wait, get started right now. Start with a little compassion, sympathy, and accountability and direct it inwards. The journey of a century starts with the first of the year. Or maybe I’m just a little Confused. 8)