Giving What You Don’t Owe
You don’t owe anyone anything. I believe that. What I am asking is, “What do you have to give?” I have written several pieces about empathy, but I’m afraid that the problem goes beyond our inability to see each other’s choices as reasonable. We are vigilant and ever-ready to call names and dehumanize. At this point, I would settle for just an unprovoked nod that acknowledges the humanness in the other. You don’t owe that to anyone, but the problem with not giving it is that we get used to ignoring each other. Soon, we no longer see each other as humans with a shared destiny. It gets easier to dismiss that feeling that doing unto others is motivated by how I would like to be treated. In the end, we find it easy to condemn another before we know the facts, before we know them. The other is not a person with feelings any longer. He or she is only a means to our ends or a threat to our prosperity.
I’m not willing to acquiesce to that reality. So, I send encouraging texts. I write encouraging blogs, articles, and books. I smile, not looking for a smile back, but knowing that if I maintain, at least the hope is maintained. Maybe it spreads, but the seed is planted and germinates within me. Twitter is with me. What do you have to give?
1. Spread Positivity
What the world needs now is empathy. Barring that, let us at least get a sense of shared destiny. If that’s not possible, let’s realize some sense of interrelatedness. If not, can we see that your hurt will eventually hurt me? No? Then, can we at least not intentionally hurt another person?
I often feel like I am asking for a lot just to dispense with the hate. As if every interaction with non-loved ones is adversarial. If they disagree with you, they are enemies. If you don’t know, don’t risk finding out. But, what if you took a different position? What if you started with the person you see each morning, and continued to spread positivity from there? Catch that person in the mirror in the morning and encourage them. Smile at them. The world needs more of that.
— T. L. Richardson (@1022Tiger) April 27, 2017
2. Smallest Gestures
Gestures. Like a smile. No, just a nod. Forget that, just eye contact without the quick dart away. The smallest gestures. Consider that it is a small gesture to walk up, hold out your hand, and introduce yourself. I get that some of us are not comfortable putting ourselves out there with strangers. Some of us don’t want to risk that level of engagement with anyone. But, I find it unacceptable that this would result in the engagement of no one. I think you should too. You may not be to my level of frustration, walking on to elevators and greeting the groups as if conducting an orchestra. But, at some point, the interactions with people we know lose vigor due to our practice of turning it off so completely with others. Is the nurturing of that switch considered a trait of the genuine? *shrug
— Saju K (@sajuks) April 30, 2017
3. Like a Smile
I’m a bold advocate for the smile. I practice what I preach. My smile breaks into a chuckle when I encounter someone who actively avoids my glance as if to deny the opportunity for my smile to penetrate. The best defense against a smile is sunglasses. Smiles begin with the eyes. Hiding them provides a level of anonymity that frustrates the smile connection. As Summer approaches, I am contemplating a borderline obnoxious thumbs up to go with my characteristic smile. I just want to make sure that my message is being sent. Whether it is returned undeliverable is up to you. We don’t have to become good friends, but isn’t it important to acknowledge that we shared the same 5 feet of space at some point in human history?
— Tanya E. Bulls (@TrueTenor) April 28, 2017
4. Better Done
What really cracks me up is when someone avoids eye contact in a public place like a grocery store or a mall or a college campus. I say, “Hi.” or “Good morning.” They say, “Hi. How are you?” Whoa! Aren’t you going a bit overboard with the greeting? You do realize that you have now invited me into a conversation? What makes me laugh is that they didn’t do the small deed. Now, they seem to want to skip to the great. I usually just say what they expect to hear knowing that their response was habit, not an invitation or interest. But, what if you engaged with others out of authenticity, or not. Whatever you are inclined to do, do that. If you don’t want to engage, do that. But, you can’t ignore someone and want to know how their doing, can you? #smallDeeds
Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. -Peter Marshall
— Hannah More (@laura92318926) April 30, 2017
5. Unshakeable Will
Here is my bottom line. If you don’t have a practical sense of empathy, work to understand and develop it. If you are a trusting and engaging person who loves and supports and encourages, don’t lose that faith. Yes. It’s faith. You believe that the light you share, created from your raw energy, will return to you. You don’t have to see evidence. It is not about them or their responses. It is a matter of your will. Therefore, I have only one last question. What are you willing to give?
May your faith be unshakeable and your will, unbreakable. – Tristan Bishop #quote
— LOU DENIM (@loudenim) April 29, 2017