There is Good in the World

photo credit: greenplasticamy via photopin cc
photo credit: greenplasticamy via photopin cc

When I was a senior in college, I took a politics course, entitled “The Way the World Works.” On the first day of class, the professor had us divide up into groups and debate the following: are people innately good or are people innately bad? As quiet as I was, I found myself in quite the fierce battle between myself and the three gentlemen in my group, who were all convinced that humans were inherently evil. When the professor brought the class back together, I was tired and frustrated from arguing. Certainly someone else could pick up my crusade in the full class discussion so the introvert that I am could relax. But then, he asked us to raise our hands for which side we thought had won the debates. The entire class had been convinced that people are evil. Myself and the professor were the only people who disagreed.

The other night, over dinner, my mother said, “I think the world is the worst off it’s ever been.” In some ways, I can see how it’s easy to say that. 2014 was certainly a year for scary news: ebola, the abduction of schoolgirls from Nigeria, instability in Gaza and Crimea, racial unrest in the US, and quite an array of national and international terrorism. Yet, I still disagree. To explain, I will defer to Mr. Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was a favorite show when I was a young child):

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers- so many caring people in this world.”

In other words, bad things are going to happen, but the way I know that the world is an ok place because when bad things happen, more people step up to help than there are that caused the situation in the first place.

And if you’re still not convinced the world is an ok place, watch this commercial from a Thai life insurance company:

 

Suggested Reading: 26 Charts That Show the World is Getting Much, Much Better

The World is Not Falling Apart

Are These Dangerous Times, or Do They Just Feel That Way?

Mary

On Not Settling

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Lately, my facebook newsfeed has been blowing up with posts from friends and acquaintances who are experiencing the sorts of big changes in their lives that can only be expected of  adults in their mid-twenties to early thirties.  Proposals, engagements, and marriages. Pregnancies and births. It’s easy to think that everyone is entering a new stage of their lives and that I’m being left behind.

But, the other day, as I logged on to a flurry of these posts, I thought of it a different way.

What if all of this extra time was a gift?

When you’re in a romantic relationship, your focus shifts from yourself to your partner. When you have children, it shifts to them. As you start a family, it seems as if it is very easy to lose connection with yourself.

I have a friend who got married soon after college and who has two beautiful children. She posts images of her happy family, but then writes about how she’s felt like she’s lost touch with herself. When she was in school, her hobbies were to sing and dance- that’s what brought her joy. Since she had gotten married, and definitely since she had children, she has not been able to do these things. She feels like she’s lost touch with herself.

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I can say the opposite is true for me. Over the past 5-10 years, not only have I gotten better at my favorite hobbies, but I’ve found new ones as well. I’ve put a lot of work into myself, and I have become braver, stronger, and more assertive. With every year that passes, I’ve pushed and challenged myself more. I’ve become more and more connected with myself, and as that connection strengthens, it will become harder and harder to break, no matter what life delivers me.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to keep the focus on myself this entire time. I have had so much time to grow and evolve . . . and I can say with confidence that I’ve been making the best of it.

Mary