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Acceptance, Patriotism

Acceptance is the New Patriotic

How did intolerance become patriotic? This is the question I keep asking myself. Somewhere along the way, the new nationalism we are seeing in the United States got wrapped up in saving America for the white, straight, cisgender people (stay with me). I guess there’s a kind of conservatism in that. After all, for a very long time the dominant culture was white, straight, and cisgender.

However, the U.S. has become increasingly diverse – especially over the course of the last century. Now, white is well on its way to becoming another minority along with all the other minorities that make up our beautiful patchwork quilt of a nation. I’m saying this as a white, straight, cisgender male. It’s happening. It’s simply a fact. I’m fine with it. It’s WONDERFUL! Lots of different types of people with all kinds of different beliefs CAN live together in one place and we can all get along. This is possible.

This is why I am here to declare loudly and clearly for all to hear that ACCEPTANCE is the new patriotic. We’ve got to learn to be accepting of difference. This is the clarion call of our times. We can do this! We are becoming a more diverse and multicultural nation and that is a good thing! Variety, as they say, is the spice of life. And diversity is the spice of the United States of America.

I love my country and I love all kinds of people. In my life I have met people of just about every race, creed, color, religion, ability, sexual orientation and so forth, and I have to be honest and say that I tend to really like all sorts of people. Actually, it’s rare that I meet someone that I don’t like. We, as human beings, tend to be much more alike than we are different. We really can find things in common with people who might at first seem very different from us.

I encourage all Americans to get out and meet people who are very different from them. Make new friends. Get to know people. Once you get to know people who are very different from you I promise you that you will like them. Heck, you might even love them. And that’s what it’s all about. Let’s aim at loving one another despite our differences. HECK! Let’s love each other BECAUSE of our differences. Difference is beautiful.

Come on people! Join with me! Make an effort to move towards greater tolerance and acceptance. If we are all to live in peace then we must all learn to be accepting of one another. And that is why acceptance is the new patriotic.

Much love to you all,

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion

Acceptance, caring, compassion, connection, empathy, kindness, Love, RECK, respect, Tolerance, Uncategorized, Well-Being

“The Delightful Dozen” Values for Wellbeing

The formula of Respect, Empathy, Compassion, and Kindness (RECK) came from a place of researching the essential things all people need in order to be well. The idea was that we should treat all people with RECK for the sake of their wellbeing and the prevention of harm. First I created a Facebook page called RECK Pact, which called people to pledge themselves to treat all people with RECK, all the time. This evolved into a rebranding of the page to RECK for All – putting the call right into the name.

Recently, I was reflecting upon how important tolerance, acceptance, and love (these three values come up in comments frequently) are, which led me to write this post. Around that same time, this reflection led me to rebrand our Facebook page once again to “It Matters How We Treat One Another.” This statement is an assertion I have made several times since starting our Facebook page and it always gets a highly positive response. This name change has received a positive response from the nice folks who follow the page.

Since making that change to the page I’ve been reflecting upon the all the things that help create positive interpersonal relations – all the things that foster good emotional health in individuals. So far, I’m up to 12.

Here are the Essential 12 AKA the “The Delightful Dozen”:

  1. Kindness – This is to have a basic level of tenderness for all people. It is healthy to be kind to people. It benefits and giver and the receiver.
  2. Respect – From granting basic human dignity to holding others in esteem. Often, I describe this as recognizing the fact that we all have struggled and we all have overcome hardships in our lives. It’s important to have at least a basic level of respect for people.
  3. Empathy – This is to feel with others. Our world would be radically changed for the better if we all made a greater effort to empathize with one another. Empathy builds understanding and even cooperation.
  4. Compassion – To feel another’s pain and desire to relieve that pain. Compassion is humanity’s greatest hope for a brighter future. May we all be well.
  5. Acceptance – To love people as their are. An acceptance of difference is akin to tolerance, so I have not chosen to list tolerance separately. Acceptance is tolerance taken to the next level of positivity.
  6. Love – This is to hold people close to your heart. Love creates a kinder and gentler world.
  7. Grace – This is basically to give people the benefit of the doubt. It is also the idea of believing that the individuals in our lives are basically good and well intentioned. This also includes forgiveness and letting go of hurt and resentments. Let others “off the hook.”
  8. Appreciation – From appreciating each person’s unique gifts to gratitude for the positive actions that people take, including the kind things they do for us.
  9. Integrity – People need to be able to feel like they can trust us to be truthful and dependable. It matters what we do even when no one is looking.
  10. Equity – Treat everyone as equal to you, neither above you nor below you. This is healthy for you and for them.
  11. Cooperation – Working together for the betterment of all. We don’t have to agree on everything in order to be able to cooperate and work together.
  12. Uplift – Joy, happiness, hope and humor. We all need hope and a little levity from time to time. Of course, it’s never appropriate to mock others. Everyone should be in on the joke. Humor can either lift people up or tear them down, so we must be careful with our humor.

That’s RECK turned to 11. Instead of looking at the most basic elements that everyone needs in order to be well, this is looking at all of the things people can do to help make others well and to improve our relationships.

I have to say that this is and has been a really exciting journey. It’s fun to think about all the things we can do to be well and help others be well. There’s so much suffering and struggle in the world, there is really no reason to compound it for one another. Let’s all help one another to be well!

Much love to you,

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion

Acceptance, compassion, empathy, kindness, Love, RECK, respect, Tolerance

RECK, Tolerance, Acceptance, and Love

It might seem silly to read this, but I spent almost 15 years developing the concept of RECK (Respect, Empathy, Compassion, and Kindness) for All. It’s such a simple concept, and I think some people look at it and say, “Yes, for course we should all treat one another that way.” But that’s part of what took so long. I spent a lot of time debating that which is essential that we need to give to all people, and that which we are realistically able to give to all people.

There are three elements that I’ve strongly considered including or did include in RECK at some point and time. Originally, I included Tolerance. But I discovered that tolerance is a fraught value for many people. Some people think of tolerance as too much to ask. Or maybe that tolerance also included tolerating ugly things like hatred and abuse. For others, they thought we should do better than tolerance; we should truly accept one another. Acceptance in beautiful, but can we accept child abuse for example? No. Most certainly not.

Those are the first two, tolerance and acceptance. The third value is love. Love seems like such a no-brainer for me, because I grew up admiring the teachings for Jesus and his concept of universal love. But the fact of the matter is that some people simply do not know how to love properly. Many people have been harmed by love that seeks to control or manipulate… harmed by forms of love that do harm.

So, here we are… RECK for All. Respect, Empathy, Compassion, and Kindness for all people. I often think of RECK as a pathway to loving people properly. Plus, respect combined with empathy and kindness can lead to greater tolerance and acceptance.

The more I think about it, and the more RECK is tempered in the fires of real world use, the more I feel like it is enough. It is good. Yes, let’s improve our tolerance. Yes, let’s be more accepting of one another. And yes, by all means, let’s make an effort to love one another better… and RECK is the tool we can use to help us achieve those things.

All the best to you,

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion

RECK, respect

May Cooler Heads Prevail; God Bless America

It’s tricky to navigate the issue of the events that transpired yesterday in Washington, D.C. from the perspective of respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness for all (RECK for all). It’s hard to hold everyone’s perspective in mind, because there seem to be so many perspectives. I want to open by saying that I mourn for the four lives lost; one woman was shot by Capitol Police and three people died from undisclosed emergency medical situations. I am deeply saddened by all of this. May they rest in peace.

Next, I want to say that we are all Americans. We all love our country, and we all want what is best for it. While I will always condone nonviolent protest as a form of free speech, I must admit that I believe that entering the Capitol Building was taking things too far. Sadly, I believe that January 6, 2021 will be viewed as a dark day in U.S. history, by future generations.

Standing back and making an effort to view this situation with objectivity, I believe that it’s time for us to call for everyone to treat one another with more respect. As Americans, we should have respect for our democratic institutions. We should have respect for one another. Let’s make an effort not to demonize one another. We are not enemies. Again, we are all Americans.

In times of deep unrest in seems almost comical to speak about love. But the facts are the facts and they do not change. The fact has been and remains that we should all make a greater effort to love one another. We need to look past partisanship and find ways to discover common ground. It was reassuring last night to listen to the proceedings on the radio once congress was back in session and hear our congress people working together for the good of the country. We need more of that.

Let’s let yesterday stand as the high-water mark for how heated things became in this Presidential election season. From here, let’s make an effort to cool things off. Let’s all work to help cooler heads prevail, and may those cooler heads be our own.

With love,

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion

kindness, RECK, Uncategorized

2021: The Year of Kindness

Although it started out like a normal year, 2020 ended up being anything but normal. Times of great change can teach us a great deal. The social isolation of 2020 taught us how much family, friends, and community matter. There was more complexity to 2020, of course. There was also social and political unrest, and mourning for the loss of loved ones to COVID-19 and to other causes.

Perhaps 2020 also brought you some joy. Hopefully, it did. That seemed to be a lesson of 2020: that we all have the power to help improve the lives of those around us in small and large ways. And that’s where our theme for 2021 comes in. We’re branding 2021 as “The Year of Kindness.” The time just feels right. Doesn’t it feel like we need a year of kindness?

So, let’s focus on the positive. Let’s think of ways to brighten the days of the people we love and even complete strangers. Practice random acts of kindness towards all kinds of random people. Practice deliberate acts of kindness for the people close to us in our lives. Stated simply: Let’s keep kind in mind. Do all things with kindness.

At Century of Compassion, we believe that all people deserve to be and should be treated with respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness (RECK). Often, when I speak of kindness I make reference to loving kindness. This is kindness taken to the next level. Kindness done for, through, and with love. Kindness matters. And we should be kind in a loving way.

Please subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @RECKforAll. We’ll continue to provide inspiration throughout the year.

With love,

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion