I read this article by Miriam Hall, on another site for which I write, called Elephant Journal
The Basic Goodness Manifesto:
I trust in my own and others’ goodness.
I know that caring changes everything.
I trust my heart.
I trust you.
“We declare May 7, 2013 to be Basic Goodness Day, a day when people all over the world, no matter what their beliefs, religion, culture, or creed, collectively affirm their own and others’ basic goodness.
We want to live in a world of peace and goodness. We want a world where the highest values are tolerance, generosity, creativity, kindness, and fearlessness rather than self-absorption, aggression, and speed.
We all know—can feel—that there is an enormous collective longing for a world that operates on principles of sanity. But where to begin?
All you have to do is know beyond doubt that you are good, that you possess inherent worth and value.
When you do, something extraordinary happens. You come into your power. Your confidence rises and your distrust lessens. Your world becomes full of possibility rather than hassles. You see that others also possess this goodness and your heart opens to them.”
This came from the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and it echoes my own belief that people are intrinsically good and want to reflect light and love. It is when we lose our moorings and our moral compass goes haywire with the needle spinning about wildly, that we act in ways that counter this instinct. As a therapist for more than 30 years, I have witnessed first hand, the impact of erroneous beliefs of unworthiness. Addiction, violence against loved ones and strangers, and wars grow from the seeds of shame and self loathing. I was on Facebook tonight and saw a posting that appeared to be accepting of disciplining children by striking them with a belt and it was expressed in what seemed meant to be a reminiscently humorous way. When I commented on it, the person who posted it, offered the to-be-expected answer that all those she knew who experienced it turned out to be happy and well adjusted adults. My view is that they may have done so in spite of and not because of corporal punishment. When we attempt to control another person’s behavior out of fear, then we are on that slippery slope to the proverbial (as in Star Wars) ‘Dark Side’. I countered with the statement that if one adult hit another adult with whom they disagreed, with a belt, they could justifiably be charged with assault.
What if we saw everyone who crossed our path as that innocent newborn that they all once were. How would we treat each other and ourselves if we recognized that tiny God-spark that got itself born, before they/we were indocrinated to hate and fear?
How do we instill that in ourselves and each other?
Tell yourself each day that you are loveable and capable.
Take an inventory of the positive qualities you possess.
Affirm yourself when you engage in a loving act.
Write yourself and other people, love notes.
Compliment people in your life.
Praise for a job well done.
Express gratitude even for the things that may not feel wonderful, since they too are our teachers.
Be kind and compassionate.
And as E.T. said, “Be good.”