compassion, connection, Core Four, empathy, kindness, Love, Obliterate Hate, respect, Uncategorized, Values, Well-Being

We All Share A Common Humanity

Stop. Take a breath. Forget about everything you’ve been indoctrinated into over the course of your life. Zoom out on planet Earth. As you look you will see a simple truth: We are all one humanity. There is one human species on this planet and we are all part of it. There is no “us” and “them.” There is just us. All of us. One human race.

This is the simple fact of the matter. When it comes right down to it, we are all more alike than we are different. We all want similar things: love, safety, security, food, water, shelter. We all want to be free to achieve our best version of ourselves and to live our best lives.

With these simple truths in mind we need to learn to live together. We need to learn to get along with one another. We need to learn to respect one another and honor the things in one another that make us different. This is the challenge of our times. This is the path to greater peace and prosperity. This is how we change our shared world for the better.

Don’t buy into the nonsense. Don’t believe those who wish to divide us. They are unwell. They are poisoned by the toxic tribalism that has kept us separated for millennia. We need to grow up as a species and learn to overcome petty differences. Because in the end, we are all capable of getting along with one another and even loving one another.

Love. That’s really what it’s all about. We live to love and be loved. The problem is that not all of us have learned how to love properly. True love does not seek to control. Real love does not do harm. In order to love properly, love must contain four basic elements: kindness, respect, empathy, and compassion. I call these the Core Four.

With the Core Four in place we can learn to love and love well. We can lay a foundation that allows for trust to grow and flourish. We can help each other enrich our wellbeing. The Core Four works on an individual level, on a community level, a national level, and an international level.

We need everyone to embrace and act upon the Core Four. If each individual would learn to treat one another with the Core Four values of kindness, respect, empathy, and compassion we could overcome much of what ails the world. What we need is a Global Covenant to commit ourselves to the Core Four as individuals, communities, societies, and globally.

Such a commitment would be no small feat to be sure, but it’s worth striving for. With the help of the Core Four we could all look forward to an ever brighter future with greater wellness and peace for everyone.

Isn’t life hard enough? Doesn’t nature dish out enough hardship without us making life harder for one another? First, do no harm. Then, love and love well. Love with the principles of kindness, respect, empathy, and compassion always in your heart and mind.

A brighter future is possible.

We each really and truly can make a difference in the world.

Let’s all strive to be the best that we can be and to love one another with the added benefit of the Core Four to guide us.

After all, we all share a common humanity.

Wishing you the very best,

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion.

Uncategorized, Well-Being

No “Us” and “Them”

I’m approaching the age of 50, and over the nearly half-century that I’ve been living on this beautiful spinning orb I’ve been watching it shrink and shrink. Not literally, of course. But in wild and fascinating ways. Since the 1970s (when I was born) the economy has become more global and trade has connected the world in circuitous and complex ways. And with the internet and social media, it seems like the world has gotten really small compared to how vast it seemed just 40 years ago, in the 1980s, when I first woke up to the world.

Due to all of these changes, the world has become increasingly interconnected. Now, it seems like nearly all of Earth’s nearly 8 billion inhabitants are just a few clicks away. Increasingly, we are learning that all people the world over share more commonalities than differences. People everywhere want many of the same things: peace, security, food, shelter, water, good health, and opportunity. We all want to love and be loved. These things are universal.

For this reason, when we speak of “us” and “them” we are really referring to us and us. We all are human beings with similar wants and desires. And, as we continue to learn, we are all interconnected. The actions we take towards others seem to come back to us with increasing speed.

We need to cast off “us vs. them” thinking, because increasingly it is actually “us vs. us.” We all need to think of ways of being that benefit all people, because we all are affected by people’s actions. Increasingly, we are seeing mass migrations of people and this has to do largely with the fact that – thanks to social media – people can easily see and be constantly reminded that they could have it better somewhere else.

Individuals want to be in the places where they can have the basic things we all desire. These are the places where they want to raise their families. These are the places where they want to work. This makes perfect sense and is easy to empathize with. After all, we all are pretty similar. Chances are that if I want something for myself, others want that type of thing for themselves too. This makes sense.

Due to the fact that we are all so similar, due to the fact that we want similar things, due to the fact that the world continues to shrink, we all need to start to think of this planet being made up of “us” and “us.” People in far away places aren’t all that different from you. People who move to where you live from other places aren’t all that different from you.

With this mentality, we all can learn to see each other as similar and get along with one another. Let’s constantly look for the ways that we are all more alike than different. Let’s look for commonalities in culture and in ways of being. Let’s strive to love one another and be the kind of person for others that we would like others to be for us. Let’s make constant effort to be kind, respectful, empathetic, and compassionate… no matter how different someone might seem at first glance.

Things are getting better. The world is improving. Over the course of this century, the world is going to become less violent, less turbulent, more peaceful, and more prosperous. We will have a brighter future with us and us… all of us.

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

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

compassion, empathy, kindness, RECK, respect, Uncategorized

RECK the Holidays for Your Friends and Family!

This Holiday Season, don’t just Deck the Halls, RECK the Halls!

The season of Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/New Years and all the other winter holidays is upon us! It’s time for lots of festive gatherings and hopefully lots of fun. Of course, we know that whenever people gather conflict seems inevitable. Someone is certain to bring up politics or make a hurtful comment and things can quickly take a combative tone.

This year, use the principles of RECK to help you navigate those tricky holiday gatherings and prevent you from saying or doing something you’ll regret later. RECK stands for Respect, Empathy, Compassion, and Kindness. Treat all people at the festivities you attend with RECK and things are certain to go better… maybe even the best ever!

Start from a place of respect. Set aside past conflicts and negative feelings and treat everyone respectfully, no matter how they might treat you. You set the tone. Make it clear that you are willing to be respectful no matter what. This typically means observing the Golden Rule and treating everyone the way you would like to be treated. Do your best to be aware of what sets other people off and try not to broach sensitive subjects. For example, if your cousin has been out of work for six months then focus on topics other than your new promotion or how great your job is going.

Next, keep your sense of empathy active and do your best to be empathetic with everyone. Make an effort to gauge the emotions of other people in the room and meet them where they are. For example, if one of your friends just lost a parent this year you might share how difficult your first holiday season was after your parent passed, or ask them how they are doing. Be sensitive to other people’s feelings and do your best to help lift their spirits if they are feeling down… not everyone feels joyful around the Holidays.

When appropriate, make an effort to be compassionate. Again, the Holiday Season can be difficult for some people, especially if they have recently experienced a loss. This can also be true for someone who has recently experienced a break up. If your sister and her boyfriend recently broke up, then do your best to give your sister a little extra attention this year. Spend time talking with her at family gatherings and maybe even give her a call on New Year’s Eve just to let her know you’re thinking of her. Loneliness is worse around the Holidays, so help people you think might be lonely to feel less so.

Finally, in all situations: Be kind. Kindness matters. And it especially matters around the Holidays. You will get so much further with everyone from new acquaintances to close family members by being kind to them. Especially, with family members with whom you have had tension in the past. Being kind to people works like a salve or balm on old wounds. With kindness and time even the deepest of wounds can heal. So, if you and your uncle have always been at odds, surprise him by treating him like your new best friend and he might just return the same back to you.

Make “respect, empathy, compassion, kindness” your Holiday mantra. Repeat it to yourself as you make your way to even the most stressful of Holiday gatherings, and I guarantee that you will have a merrier and more joyful Holiday Season as a result!

Peace and good fortune to you this Holiday Season and always,

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion