Hope you were able to get out in nature to greet the new year. I heard it was WAY TOO COLD for that in some places. You're welcome to make up challenges at any time this month and still be in the game.
Today's tiny resolution: look for human goodness.
2017 was full of news stories about hate and division. It seemed a new free reign given to public expressions of racism, xenophobia and misogyny and just down right bullying-- behaviors that in the past would have still occurred, but without a cheering section that sometimes appeared federally sanctioned.
We'll never be rid of the occasional asshole. But we can reduce the power of the narrative that asshole behavior is the new norm.
Bad stuff sticks out, and sticks in the brain. Joe Quirk, in his book "It's Not You, It's Biology", wrote that our obsessive focus on negatives ( the ''bitch gene") is in part responsible for our achievements. We were cold, so we invented clothes, and built shelters. We got tired of the same old game meats and foraged veg every day, so we invented agriculture and fusion cuisine. Our noticing what isn't right is a motivating and protective factor for us. Focusing on the glass half full is wired in.
But this year, the negativity and fear mongering has been way too much for most of us. And it gets easy to forget that the vast majority of people are basically good, and mean us no harm.
So today's challenge is to go out of your way to notice people being kind or helpful to other humans.
Maybe it's just your grocer being patient with you while you fumble for your debit card. Maybe it's the stranger who smiled. Maybe it's the person who waves you on at the four way stop. It doesn't have to be a big thing.
And if you go through some long enough segment of your day without noticing any kindness, create some yourself. Smile at the stranger, ask after the grocer. Hold the door. Use your politeness words-- please, thank you, you're welcome-- that seem to be going out of fashion.
I look forward to hearing about any kindnesses you encounter today. You can tweet or instagram them to #door2challenge or post them in the comments below.
Welcome to the middle path
- Jana Svoboda, LCSW
- Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.