The “1,000 Voices Speak for Compassion” online group brings together bloggers and filmmakers from around the world. Briton Underwood is one of those writers, and challenges us regarding how we treat each other when completing our personal journey.
It’s much easier to navigate the harrows of life without making stops to show compassion and kindness to your fellow travelers. As we continue on our personal journey, trampling those around us who are making the same climb becomes second nature. Like crabs in a bucket, anytime a fellow reaches the cusp of escaping their own harrowing journey, there is someone more than happy to grab at their leg and pull them back down into the darkness—the darkness we all fight so desperately to escape.
Acts of kindness or compassion seem almost against human nature.
Most of us are ill-equipped to tackle the journey alone.
What makes it so difficult to push each other towards the top in the mad climb up?
Who enjoys reaching the cusp of personal achievement, only to be dragged down by circumstance?
Why do we turn around and tear each other down?
Is it bitterness from experience? A psychological conditioning that we must tear those around us down because that’s what was done to us and we now know it to be commonplace?
There has to come a breaking point where collective minds go against the dog-eat-dog status quo and we choose compassion and kindness over selfishness.
Is it that much more difficult, to the point of impossible, to help one another up? We could all make this climb much easier if we banded together instead of going alone.
Imagine a world where people took the extra time to ensure other’s dreams come to fruition. The beauty of everyone achieving what they set out for. Hands reaching out, grasping, pulling, and helping the steady ascension to the top. Creating a ladder of success, a ladder built from kindness and compassion. Would be a lot easier than clawing your way up alone.
The shift in mindset, in taking each other’s hands, won’t come easy. We have been hard wired to fear one another, to expect the knife in the back. Those who choose kindness are used, abused, and called fools for caring for others. Focus on yourself, because everyone has an ulterior motive, right?
Are we not exhausted and dizzy from spinning in circles looking for acts of betrayal that seem to follow success so rapidly?
For fuck’s sake! There is plenty of room at the top! Don’t fear overcrowding—fear being alone with no one to revel in success with.
So here is the call to arms: take the time to uplift one another, and do it for the simple enjoyment of helping someone better themselves. In turn, you’ll better yourself, as a human being. In turn, you’ll better the world, by being a part of success instead of failure.
Prove that this world doesn’t run on the sacrificing of people’s dreams. If everyone helps, we build a ladder to the top. Each rung of compassion is easier than gripping at the walls, hands ragged and raw, struggling alone towards the top. There is no satisfaction at the top when you’ve watched all your friends disappear back down into the abyss.
It’s easy to lose oneself on the way up, especially if you have to trample people to get what you want.
So, the challenge: to be kind, to be compassionate, to break the conditioning of selfishness, be a light in the darkness and help those around you achieve greatness, so that you might reach greatness in yourself.
Is it so hard?
Is it too hard?
Photo: Jessica Watkins/Flickr
This essay originally appeared on Punk Rock Papa.