Activate Humanity – What do these two words mean to you?
“Activate” and “Humanity”, two words that mean something different. When put together, what do they mean to you?
Activate: Trigger. Stimulate. Start something. Begin a process.
Humanity: Humankind. Human race. Kindness. Compassion.
For some, it means giving a crap about each other. For others, it means giving a crap about ourselves in order to help others. Two different places to start in order to achieve the same outcome.
The reality is a combination of both ideas: Embrace the idea of purposeful, conscious support through connection with ourselves and other people or — to use a familiar word — humanity.
Meaning, we are mindful enough about ourselves to be mindful of those around us, and we support them from a place of respect and kindness. We consciously care about them.
To start caring about other humans, we must be willing to become more aware of ourselves, and each other in the process. Part of this awareness is the fact that none of us truly know what they are dealing with or going through, and they don’t know what we’re experiencing either.
Having an unbiased, neutral mind is essential to this process. We remove our assumptions and judgements about them. We move into a space that is more open, curious, and objective. It’s about seeing them as a person and accepting them as they are, in that moment. Meet them where they are and hold space for them. We let go and separate their journey in life from ours.
How do we learn to let go? How can we release our hold on trying to steer or influence their ship? Especially, when it’s someone we already know and care so much about or love.
One of the fastest ways to do this is by focusing on our breath. Yes. Breathing.
As we breathe, we are releasing. We’re letting go of stale or unnecessary air in order to bring in new, refreshing air. It’s a process we do unconsciously and it’s so powerful when we tap into it. We become more aware of how it impacts our bodies and our minds.
The act of breathing is something that we generally take for granted. We assume our next breath will come and we don’t really ever give it any thought, unless we are struggling to get it. Then, it’s EVERYTHING.
Focusing on our breath allows us to become more present, mindful, and connected to the current moment. To do this, we need to shift the way we breathe. As we slow it down and take longer to release the air, we become calm and our heart rate slows down. This naturally calms our minds. When our minds are calm, we become more open and receptive to our surroundings. We begin to allow ourselves to take things in and process them more logically.
From a logical standpoint, it makes sense for us to help and support each other. As humans, we don’t do as well, or even survive at the same level, when we are isolated. It’s in our nature to be social and create community. Yes, it’s also in our nature to contend and struggle with each other. However, ask yourself this question: Which way feels right and produces the best outcomes, working divided or working together?
Think about how quickly we can achieve things and make a difference in the world when we work together. As opposed to the endless circles we run in when we focus on division or fight against each other. Look at the structures constructed, technological advances, and environmental impacts that happen when we align our efforts and work together.
In times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build dams. – African Proverb
Interesting things begin with a question…
Why don’t people activate their humanity? Do you focus on ACTIVATING your HUMANITY?
Ask yourself why you do or don’t. It’s different for everyone. Most often, it’s based on our own beliefs, perceptions, and experiences with the world or people around us.
If we’ve been taught by life to look out for ourselves or not trust others, we are more likely to remain focused on what’s happening for us, and not them. We are trying to survive, or get what we can, for ourselves. It’s a very ego-centric way of thinking.
Activating humanity requires us to look beyond ourselves. To see opportunities to help others and make a positive difference in another person’s life. There are so many chances and ways to do this every day. Look for them and take action. Do it. It’s that easy.
Taking an active role in helping others will have a profound effect on your mental and physical health. Research has shown helping others supports, not only our health, but also our longevity. A study published in Sage Journals by the Association of Psychological Science details how giving versus receiving supports longevity. In this study researchers examined the impact of how giving, in older couples over a five year period, to friends, family, and loved ones affected mortality rates. The analyses indicated that mortality was significantly reduced for those who gave support in various forms during this time.
Additionally, in a recent podcast interview current U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy said:
At a time when so many people feel disempowered, I feel like the problems that we’re facing are so big and too big for them to make a difference on their own. I just want us to never forget that we have the power to choose between love and fear. The ripple effects that we have on other people, when we do that, directly. The example we set indirectly for those who may not say anything to us but are impacted by our example. That is powerful! That is how culture changes. That’s how our country will change. That’s how we will become better and create a better world for our kids as well.
The more we can actively express our humanity, the more we can positively impact our environment, each other, and ourselves. Let’s be willing to create a much needed positive shift for each of us and future generations.
It all starts with you!
(or as we say at Powerful U, “It all starts with U!”)