There has never been a time in the history of the world where we need a dramatic increase in kindness and generosity. We are inundated with negativity and toxicity! Criticism, fault-finding, tearing down others, and seeking to ruin people has become a full-contact, no-holds-barred sport for too many of us (and the media we engage in). We gossip too much and are generous too little. We need to reverse this practice.
Dr. Brene Brown has suggested that we practice living BIG! As a Certified Daring Way Facilitator of Dr. Brown’s work, I have found this one of the most personally and professionally impactful teachings of hers. It is so needed in this day and age. We need to Live BIG and rise above the pettiness of shame, blame, and finger-pointing. It is so destructive. We need to download peaceful conversations, open the dialogue, and seek to have a greater understanding and perspective.
BIG is an acronym that stands for Boundaries, Integrity, and Generosity. It has been so insightful to me to explore this idea. I can only do so briefly here. I encourage each of you to seek a greater understanding of this concept.
Boundaries mean we can say what is okay and what is not okay. We can talk about what we need to talk about and stop what we should not be talking about. We can discuss hard issues without becoming negative and hard. We can seek understanding of differences and difficulties without becoming difficult. We maintain respectful boundaries.
Integrity, per Dr. Brown, is “Choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; choosing to actually practice our values and not just profess them.” This is so needed in our world today. In a world that maybe makes everything too fun, too fast, and too easy, we need more of us to get real clear on our values, step out of comfortable places, and seek a broader perspective. We need to be true in how we see others.
Generosity is extending to others the most liberal interpretation of their behaviors. We need to believe that most people are doing the very best they can with what they have and know at the time. We need to follow more of The Golden Rule and be generous with others just as we want them to be generous with us.
I love that integrity is in the middle! When we strive to be true to our values and demonstrate a life of integrity, we can use that to help us know when to set boundaries and when to be generous. If you are letting someone trash-talk someone else and you do not say anything, you are probably not being true to a value inside. You need to set a boundary. So, speak up or walk away! When you are finding yourself being negative about another, you are likely not being true to a value. Be generous. Look deeper! See deeply! Search more carefully! Pause and resist the impulse to label or judge. Let your integrity be your guide!
Hero? Villain? Maybe, excepting for movies, novels, and fiction, there are no real villains or heroes. I am not sure! Maybe, as author Millie Florence said, There are no true villains in this world, only heroes and their opinions.” Maybe, the real challenge is one of perspective. It is what we see, choose to see or not see, and how hard we look.
Let’s all resolve to pause before we label. Let’s show more compassion and generosity to leaders, our divorced friends, our struggling co-workers, our flailing family members. We all hate to be labeled and judged so let’s not do it! Let’s work together to pause, consider the source, look for more information, and resolve to be more generous and kind.
Let’s resolve not to find a villain or a hero, but a friend (probably in need and desperately wanting love and understanding). Of course, we need to have good boundaries and not allow hurt, unkindness, and destruction (in all its forms), but let’s do it with civility and without the labels. Let’s be peaceful, open-hearted, open-minded, and kind. It will make a huge difference for us and for all around us!