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.

kindness, RECK, Values, Well-Being

If You Care And Are Kind Then You Make A Positive Difference!

Some of you might look at the title of this post and think, “Well, of course.” But there is a chance that this simple fact might not be obvious to you as it was once not obvious to me. Going back about 16 years, I got the idea to start hosting volunteer events each month as a way to help people make a positive difference in the world. My theory was that, like me, there were probably lots of people who wanted to do good in the world, but simply didn’t know where to start.

Over the years, I’ve come to see that how people simply move through the world makes a big difference in the lives of those with whom they interact. I think when I was younger I was more of the mind that only big acts made any real difference in the world. However, I have come to see that everything we do every day – the kind of person we choose to be and how we choose to treat others – makes a difference.

So, I have come to the conclusion that if you care and are kind then you make a positive difference in the world. If you care about others as you go about your daily routine, taking the time to really see people and really hear people, then I am absolutely certain that you are making a difference. A little kindness goes a long way, and spreading kindness as you go about your day has a really profound and positive effect on all of the people with whom you interact.

When we watch the news, I think we are often left with the feeling that the world is a really tough place and there are some pretty terrible things that happen. Yet, when we get out into the world we often see that it is a beautiful place and that kind, caring, compassionate, and loving things often happen. This is the culture that I wish to build upon and expand. And chances are that if you are reading this then you probably feel the same way.

We can contribute to and help build a culture of kindness, respect, empathy, and compassion by simply living those values in our daily lives. Sure, the big good things matter too. It’s good to volunteer at the local food bank and donate to worthy causes. Still, you can have a major impact on this world based simply upon how you interact with the people in your life. Be kind to the cashier, help your elder neighbor carry in the groceries, and love your family with all you’ve got. They’re worth it. You’re worth it. And the world is worth it.

Much love to you,

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

compassion, empathy, kindness, Obliterate Hate, RECK, Well-Being

For Greater Inner Peace, Don’t Enimate!

Have you ever had such a difficult time with a person that you have come to think of them as your enemy? And then, almost unconsciously, you begin to imagine them doing all sorts of terrible things behind your back to sabotage you or actively do you harm. You start to imagine future scenes in which this person is being openly hostile towards you or picking a fight with you.

This can happen. We cast someone in the role of the enemy and then animate them in our minds doing all sorts of horrible things that might even cause us to begin the resent or dislike them more… or even actively hate them. I have coined a term to help describe this process of enemy animation: I call it “enimate” or “enimation.” We animate people in our imaginations as our enemies behaving like enemies.

I’ve done this before and I suspect we all have. We enimate people doing all types of terrible things that validate our negative feelings towards them. But what I’ve learned over the years is that this type of obsessive thinking is much more harmful towards me than it is towards the other person.

First of all, it’s not true! The person hasn’t actually done the things we are imagining them doing. And they probably never will. We are making these individuals into worse humans in our minds by eminating them into these terrible stereotypes which they are not. They are full human beings just like us with a full range of emotions who also want to be well liked and even loved and admired (possibly even by us).

Secondly, enimation is ultimately harmful to ourselves. It gets our blood pressure up and turns us into angry and resentful people. The next time we see the person we’ve been spending our time enimating they might even wonder what the heck they have done to make us so angry towards them! It’s unhealthy for us both physically and for our relationships.

Instead of enimating people who get us upset with them, we should actively work to think of them with respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness (RECK). This will help us to calm down and it will help us find inroads to connecting with them. If you spend your time thinking of people with RECK instead of enimating them you will discover that the next time you see them you will suddenly have lots of positive things to say to them. You might even find yourself liking them and having better interactions with them.

So, don’t simply treat everyone you interact with every day with RECK, but also think of them with RECK. Imagine yourself being respectful, empathetic, compassionate, and kind towards them. You might be surprised how quickly this turns your relationships around and makes you feel more positive and happier.

With love.

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion