Faith In Humanity Doesn't Need Restoring
A friend needed to interview someone for her sociology class. Normally, I like to be the one behind the questions but I agreed because I'm an awesome person, obviously.
She quizzed me about globalization, sociological perspective and things I barely remembered from the class I took years ago.
I was doing good until the last question.
How does society show compassion for those in need? What is one example of this in your personal life?
I think I'm going to answer the question now since I didn't fully answer it when she asked me.
I am for the most part the most Positive Polly you will ever meet. I believe in good and that peoples kindness will always prevail.
However, my Negative Nancy side has been trying to come out recently.
As much I love doing random acts of kindness I am aware that performing those only results in short term happiness and a brief reminder to others that we can be kind. If we truly want to effect the change we wish to be in our society we have to put forth the effort.
We have to volunteer and be part of the community. We have to recognize there is a problem and be willing to help solve it. And when the first plan fails we need to dust ourselves and try again.
I choose to do that by volunteering on a regular basis and participating in events that will benefit organizations and causes I support.
For some reason lately I've had a good amount of feedback on how I choose to spend my free time.
Negative Nancy feedback.
People ask why I volunteer or do food drives because there will always be the poor. People ask how my husband "deals" because I'm gone too much. People ask if I ever thought of just putting effort into having a family of my own instead of a 'Mother Teresa wannabe'.
Not going to lie, the last one hurt.
The people asking often times don't contribute to my fundraisers, charities, food drives, or volunteer themselves.
They ask these questions, making judgments about my life and my decisions when they don't know that much about me.
However, that happens with everyone.
And we learn from a young age that it's more important what we think about ourselves than what others think about us.
But it still gets under my skin. I sometimes feel that those are the views held by many people. It makes me feel that there are only a few good people out there.
If you must know, I've always wanted to volunteer. I've always been that kid that raised their hand to pass out the papers in class. Whenever a side project comes up at work I'm always intrigued. When there's something that interests me I'll volunteer, because I WANT TO.
And sometimes I get a tee shirt. I love tee shirts.
Anyway, I have no hidden agenda. I do not feel guilted into it. I do not feel pressured to do it.
I sincerely want to do it.
Some people like to run, cook, scrapbook or play on the computer wasting hours of their time that way.
Why is it any different if I choose to spend time with those who need help?
I've learned by personal experiences in life the good things outweigh the bad. Unfortunately, the negative things get more publicity.
If ten good things happen to us and one bad thing happens we focus on the bad thing. I remember reading something a long time ago that said we do that so we are on the lookout for predators and threats.
The world is an amazing, beautiful place that is full of wonder and interesting people, environments and culture. It seems silly for us to focus on the one negative thing in our life.
Sometimes I feel that there is a compassion gap. Nicholas Kristof (possibly my favorite journalist) addresses this subject in this ARTICLE.
It's an interesting read.
Go on read it. (I'll wait.)
It's got some good points right?
In case you didn't read it,the article addresses how we as a society can become quite cold and unfeeling to those in need.
Studies show we process homeless people or people in need as things or objects and not as human beings.
I see it when I tell people I volunteer at the mission.
Sometimes a sneer develops and they refer to homeless people as "them" and tell me that I'm part of the problem for helping people who put themselves in that situation. They have a preconceived notion of poverty. They have no clue how many of these people in the shelters work.
Some are escaping a bad home life or lost their homes to foreclosure due to family changes, disability, or hardship.
Some have mental illness.
Others are veterans.
Veterans that fought for our country and are forgotten when they come home like yesterdays news. They're treated like shit or worse invisible like they never existed. How cruel can we be?
I refuse to believe helping my fellow man is a bad thing. Sometimes it's their choices that put them there sometimes it's not. But the only way to help get them back into society is by letting them lean on someone and help them make the right choices in life.
I do get frustrated about rude remarks and intrusive questions. I dislike peoples unwillingness to help.
I wonder if we have compassion left in us at all.
I can't help but get down.
But I am always lifted up because every time I go to volunteer other people are there.
There are friends, family, coworkers and strangers who always show up to help or volunteer.
They want to help rebuild the broken.
They want to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.
There are others who are eager beavers who want to volunteer just like me.
There are people who want to give back to their communities because they were showed kindness just like me.
lt is almost like kindness is not unique to me-because it's not. There are a ton of other people in this world who get a kick out of helping others too.
There are people who define compassion and love by their actions.
But all who help have one thing in common.
They have love for their community and show it by volunteering, donating, or helping when they can.
And that makes me realize l never had to restore my faith in humanity because the humanity has always been here, we just have to open our eyes to it.
Cheers to you beautiful souls who don't get thanked enough.
Thank you lovelies whose hearts are bigger than the ugliness in this world.
Love to all you good people who are out there even though people don't think you exist.
I know you do.
Keep on with your quiet compassionate gentleness or rock them with your shocking loud love.
Thank you for raising your hand when ten people avert their gaze downwards. Thank you for grabbing a few extra groceries when your shopping because you know someone else needs it too. Thank you for teaching younger generations that love is in actions.
Thank you for proving the naysayers wrong and the optimists right.
Thank you for being you.
Thank you for letting me know you exist.