The Village NEEDS Namaste (a #1000Speak post)


Traditionally a greeting in India, this phrase has found popularity in an increasing number of countries across the world. Translated, it means “I bow to the divine in you” – it is the respect given upon acknowledgement that the person in front of you is a unique and worthwhile individual.

The Village NEEDS Namaste

In many cases, perhaps, the term has become a ‘cutesy’ or ‘ethnic-y’ pop-culture greeting, but the meaning goes deep. Because either we all have something unique and worthwhile within us, or none of us do. We cannot pick and choose.

I believe that each human on this planet, however they came into being – whatever their status or social standing; wherever they live; whoever they live with; whatever their cultural traditions, their physicality, language or preferences – holds sufficient intrinsic value that they would be afforded the greeting ‘Namaste’, for precisely the reason that in an all-or-nothing gig, I would prefer to err on the side of cautious optimism, and hope that we are all somehow worthwhile.

That said, I don’t believe that the greeting pertains to behaviour. I can acknowledge that a person is an individual with unique characteristics and the same intrinsic value as the next person, whilst utterly abhorring their behaviour and willing it sanction to the highest level.

You see, poor behaviour is a different matter altogether, and people often behave in ways which invite legitimate criticism or punishment, for good and just reason. If someone murders or rapes or steals or breaks trust, then their action should be called out, and they should face the consequences under law and common sense.

We make choices. What we choose to do has an impact, and this impact has repercussions, whether they are for better or worse – our behaviour can either build The Village, or it can tear it down.

In a culture where fear is prevalent, it is easy to act divisively; gathering ourselves into packs and declaring our separate-ness from those we find less palatable, and to an extent this is based on a survival tactic because it brings together a group who can help to protect one another, should the need arise.

But when we decry other people for their characteristics rather than their poor behaviour; when we use shame, humiliation or holding someone up for others to point and laugh at, it’s unkind, and it contributes to the bully culture by generating a power-pyramid. At the top, there are the stronger people, who decide which person is next in line to be condemned. At the bottom are the weaker, who must either participate, or remain silent hoping that their abstinence will be sufficient to mark their distaste.

When it occurs amongst children we sanction the bullies (where possible) and support the victims. In an ideal world, the bullying behaviour is understood as a symptom of some deep unhappiness or difficulty faced by the individual, and this is also attended to. We do our best to play Happy Villagers and encourage community and friendship amongst the younger generation.

It seems this attitude sometimes gets lost in translation to the adult world, particularly with the current trend of shaming – the Medieval times and their stocks and public jeers are not so far away, it seems.

We all fail at things – whether it’s our dress sense, our attitude, our behaviour – and we all need grace, and the support of a community around us who will offer sound encouragement, help us through the consequences of our actions, and allow us to try again without prejudice (which is not to say without caution, in certain cases).

Yet people who would never consider it acceptable for a child to publicly demean another, will happily engage in taking a bash at the latest Kardashian outfit. People who might otherwise be kind and generous stalwarts of the community nonetheless think it acceptable to take a photo of a stranger’s arse-crack or clothing choice, and post it on the internet for their like-minded friends to laugh at.

Just because a person will never know it happened, or because they made poor choices, or put themselves ‘out there’, does that mean they ‘deserve’ to be a target? Does it do any harm?

I would suggest that although the target may never know the individual pot-shots taken at their expense, the very action of taking those pot-shots proliferates a culture of fear and unease. It provides a poor role model both to children and other adults. It suggests that there are people who are ‘fair game’ (and again, as far as satire or genuine criticism are concerned, there may be, but these would be dealt with differently than just hurling abuse for the sake of it, or for kicks) and these actions harden hearts against recognising certain individuals as worthwhile.

To an extent, it dehumanises them, and nothing good ever comes when someone is able to view another with a complete lack of compassion.

Bullying and unkindness are insidious beasts, which manifest themselves in all kinds of ways, both blatant and covert. All we can do is attempt to recognise them in ourselves and change our behaviour to that which builds up, encourages, and is FOR other people.

I know that there are many ways in which I fall down in this, probably on a daily basis.

But I also know it is important – nay, vital – for me to try. Because I care, and because my heart hurts when I see division and cruelty.

To those who read this and think I’m an idealistic, stupid asshole for caring about whether it matters to laugh at the shape of a politician’s face, or Mama June, or a Kardashian, then I hope that you find yourself right in the centre of The Village, wrapped up in its heart, because until the level of care in it is such that you feel able to open your heart to it and embrace it, then The Village had better buckle up – it has WORK to do.

To those who read this and agree, well…we have work to do.

We only have the right and ability to control what we do.

I hope you will choose to build The Village with me.



On March 20th, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion are having their SECOND link-up, this time with a particular focus on ‘Building from Bullying’, as well as compassion in general.

To participate, write a relevant post, and add it to the linkie on the day.

Spread the word that this event is happening again, and help us to find another 1000 Voices to help restore some balance by providing an influx of GOOD into the Blogosphere, and the world at large.

Join 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion on Facebook

Visit the 1000Speak blog

Follow @1000Speak on Twitter

Use the #1000Speak hashtag across social media.

Help us BUILD The Village.

91 thoughts on “The Village NEEDS Namaste (a #1000Speak post)

  1. Pingback: #1000Speak: Building From Bullying | Drifting Through My Open Mind

  2. Pingback: The Village NEEDS Namaste (a #1000Speak post) |...

  3. This is spot on. We don’t have village stocks anymore, but shaming is integral to bullying and I’ve seen people that I didn’t think were bullies getting in on the shame based BS. We do have work to do. May we do it with grace. Namaste!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Namaste, my beautiful, gorgeous friend. When you and I messaged a little about the People of Walmart I took your words to heart. You are so very right, and this type of bullying and criticism is SO ingrained in our culture that good people (I like to think I’m a good person, doing the best I can) don’t think twice about participating. I feel absolutely blessed to read your thoughts on this and I AM going to set a better example for my daughter so she too can be The Village.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Jen, I’m so glad that you’re such a warm and open-minded person. The one thing I don’t like about this being my soapbox topic is that on occasion it sets me against good people for whom, as you say, this type of behaviour is so engrained it’s below their consideration. And then I feel like a judgy asshole. Thank you for your understanding and compassion xo

      Your daughter will be a wonderful Villager 🙂 in many ways I think she already is.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Namaste, sweet, sleepy thinker. Alas, as Dumbledore says; “accidental rudeness happens so often”, yet I don’t think this is so much the worry as sustained and intentional undermining or throwing barbs. I am often rather rude myself. I am trying to be more mindful and am experiencing varying degrees of success 🙂

      I cannot imagine that you bully others and accidental can be fixed with time and due attention 🙂


  5. You are such a powerful force for all that is good and right in the world without dismissing everything that it flies in the face of…so now I’m wondering how to bottle you…hmm

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “To an extent, it dehumanises them, and nothing good ever comes when someone is able to view another with a complete lack of compassion.”
    Yes. And yes to the rest of this post.
    Making cruel jokes at other people’s expense has long been something I’ve felt unacceptable. Far too often if the “victim” objects, they are accused of having no sense of humour. (Yes, that victim has often been me, which is possibly why it irks me so much, but I don’t like it wherever it’s directed.)
    This shaming is rife in Scottish politics just now, and the really silly thing is that people attack opponents for the same thing their opponents attack them for. But then, we do tend to dislike in others what we suppress in ourselves. And it’s been this way a long time – what was it Jesus said something about taking the log out of your own eye so you could see the mote in the other’s eye?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and I know that when I react worst to others, it tends to be because they’re displaying something I find abhorrent in myself. It’s tough to get a balance in responding to that kind of person/trigger situation though.

      I, too, can understand the victim p.o.v. and I just think this is a hugely important stance that we’re taking – just neet to make sure a few more are signed up to it 🙂


  7. Nameste.

    How can you be stupid, when you have such an amazing impact on so many people. Look at what you have achieved already with 1000 speak! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Compassion, and standing up for it, particularly amongst people who are entrenched in their ways, is often regarded as prissy and fun-spoiling and unnecessary because NO-ONE’S GETTING HURT, RIGHT?!

      That’s kind of what motivated me to write this.


  8. Lovely post once again 🙂 Namaste is just such a beautiful word, even saying it seems to bring about a sense of peace. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to find something to write about for the “Building from Bullying” theme, but as I read through your post I found myself recalling a recent presentation I attended where we discussed whether or not positive stereotypes actually exist. I think I’ve found my topic! March 20 also just happens to be the International Day of Happiness so I’ll tie that in somehow too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did NOT know about the international day of happiness. What a beautiful coincidence. I rather love that. And I’m so glad that this helped you to find a topic. Positive stereotypes sounds like something which could be really deep and important. I’m excited to read your post 🙂


    • BRILLIANT, Rena, I’m so pleased you’ll be with us again 😀 I have Hasty to thank for the theme – she was doing her own series on bullying and wondered if we’d like to get on board, and BOY did we! It’s such a wide-spread issue and HUGELY important to address.


  9. You’re not a stupid asshole!! Idealism is something that eludes me, but it’s a very important part of this world. Idealists like you who strive for and dream of a better world benefit all of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Namaste, Lizzi! I learned the definition of Namaste to mean “the divine spirit in me SEES the divine spirit in you.” No matter, they are all about the same and all good!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This post, dear Lizzi – so beautifully written, so perfectly explained, so wonderfully and thoroughly inspiring! We all have work to do! You’re absolutely right. There’s so much we can personally do to deter bullying and be more compassionate to others. It starts with us – with the example we set. It’s not okay to poke fun at people – whether we know them or not. It sends out the message that we’re okay with that form of bullying – that we approve of treating certain people unfairly. That’s not at all what I believe! My actions and speech need to prove it. Thank you for this marvelous post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marcia, thank you so much for understanding this. You wrote it a lot more succinctly than I did, and YES – precisely that. The message we send out is harmful, even if we think we’re only doing it for kicks.

      And as for our own actions and speech proving our beliefs…ABSOLUTELY! 😀


    • Thanks so much, Joy-to-my-world. I only hope you’re laughing at yourself cos you truly find yourself funny, rather than pre-emptively (which is what I’m more likely to do) *hugs*


  12. Thank you for this. I needed to read this. I am not sure where my positivity and peaceful thinking have gone! I am usually the queen of Namaste and making the best of situations. I am afraid my mind is losing the battle and negativity is ahead! NO!!! No me gusta. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Ah… BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN!!! I love this so much. OH so much, Lizzi!!! You went deep into the heart of the culture and the heart of that beast that sometimes plays out in us all. Thank you for this platform to launch yet another powerful campaign and mission…. for CHANGE.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwwh thanks so much, Kitty. I think this is so important – to look deeper into the things which just seem to be blithely accepted, yet somehow eat away at relationships between people and the way we see each other.



  14. “I would suggest that although the target may never know the individual pot-shots taken at their expense, the very action of taking those pot-shots proliferates a culture of fear and unease.”

    This resonated with me, and I am in complete agreement. Even when we laugh at the bullying, I believe, subconsciously, we also fear being victims of it ourselves. There are times where I stand up against it, but there are plenty of times I laugh instead.

    I don’t know if you’re an idealist, but you’re certainly not an asshole. The way things are is not the way they should be, and I admire you for taking a stand. Building a village and establishing a sense of community begins with something as simple as not bullying, directly or indirectly.

    As always, a beautiful and thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, sweet Suheiry. Indirect bullying is the perfect way to describe it – wish I’d thought of that phrase. And yes…it’s very difficult to stand up to, because it has the potential to set us apart from our group, if everyone else is doing it. But I think it is worth standing up against. It just harms everyone involved.

      I know there have been times when I’ve taken the easy route and laughed, too. I’m trying to stop, and to take note.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for saying this. It is so easy to fall into evolutionarily ingrained clan-creation patterns, which dehumanize the “other” to extend what we will do to perpetuate ourselves. What we must, if we are to advance, recognize, is that we are changing the world so quickly that evolution has failed us, and we must now change ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really like that thought. I think you’re right – we’ve evolved our society in such leaps and bounds that we’ve no choice but to develop our behaviour to manage it…and in many ways the patterns of behaviour we’re left with as an inheritance are no longer relevant or appropriate. YES to taking responsibility. YES to choosing to change ourselves 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m in. I grew up in a village and morn the loss of that upbringing for my children since leaving our country. My goal is to build a supportive village for stay at home moms who don’t have that sense of family and community support for whatever reason.

    An online village I think is the biggest way we can connect and support people no matter what background they come from. Bullying needs to stop! Our children are much more sensitive then when I grew up, that doesn’t mean they need to harden up, it means the world needs to soften.

    Loved this post and have tweeted it. I am looking forward to the next installment of this compassion train.


    Liked by 2 people

    • Miri, that’s beautiful – the idea that the world needs to soften, rather than children needing to harden up. I love it. I hope that you find a way to make your village and build your community. It sounds like such a very important thing to do. People need people, especially in those fragile, early days of parenthood.

      Have you written about your plan? Do you have a link you could share?

      Thank you so much for sharing this post further. I’m thrilled to pieces that so many are engaged in this effort for compassion.


      • My entire blog is dedicated to building a support network for Stay at home moms. I focus more on bringing emotional balance to a stay at home moms life, which is focused on me walking the talk and sharing my experiences and things that work for me.

        My intial #1000 speak post was based on stay at home moms showing themselves compassion.

        I feel that sharing the compassion train will help the world to soften, well that and many other benefits will come from this movement I am sure of it!

        I can’t wait to share again on the 20th and am currently working on my post so it is ready and sharing what I can on twitter.

        I really am loving the posts of everyone who has joined this shift, I can’t wait to see everyones new installment.


        Liked by 1 person

  17. Proud to be Indian! 🙂 🙂

    Namaste recognises the each of us, you and me, irrespective of caste, colour, creed or nationality are all one and the same. No classification. No differentiation.

    You have made an excellent point with this post Lizzi. Thank you.


    Liked by 1 person

    • I can only be pleased. I know it seems like such a petty little thing for me to get worked up about, but I really DO think it matters, and it made me very sad last night. So…well, writing happened, at least. I’m sure I’m still guilty of the judgy thing in SO many ways…and I hope that if my friends spot one, they’ll let me know 🙂


  18. Namaste – the light in me honors the light in you. I am thinking about those “People of Walmart” posts. Put out there for all people to laugh at. I remember a girl in my High School. Everyone always made fun of her and laughed at her. Once I saw tears in her eyes. I was devastated for her.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Walmartians website is something which hurts me particularly deeply. I’ve been at the centre of ‘point and laugh’ situations before and they are every bit as agonising as they appear to the outsider. I feel so sad for the girl in your high school. My dream is that one day we’ll have a world where that girl would be joined in and befriended, and seen for who she was.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Those Walmart posts are the first thing I thought of, too. I’m ashamed when I catch myself laughing at them, because it also horrifies me that these people are being mocked, unbeknownst to them! And actually, considering how popular these posts are, I wonder how many people in the photos have found them and realized it’s them.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I felt this deep in my marrow:

    “I would suggest that although the target may never know the individual pot-shots taken at their expense, the very action of taking those pot-shots proliferates a culture of fear and unease.”


    I will BUILD The Village with you, Lizzi dear:
    I will build it in my heart.
    And I will share it with others, so they might do the same.

    Under the same sky,

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, thank you Dani. I am so glad to have you on side. Your hope and optimism and warmth just encourage me so much 🙂 I’m SO glad you’re part of this.

      And yeah…so many things have hidden consequences *sigh*

      Liked by 1 person

  20. You’ve explained the concept of ‘Namaste’ so beautifully, Lizzi! It is truly much deeper than we realize and tend to use it lightly.
    Bullying is something that I’m seeing more and more not just among children but among adults too, and I’ve seen it in the blogging world too, sadly. This is a very relevant issue to blog about.
    Thank you for keeping us mindful of the ‘village’!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Corrine. I think it’s such a beautiful concept but seems to get bandied around very flippantly, without consideration being given to its true meaning.

      Bullying is horrendous, both for the victim and the bully, and the more frank dialogue we have about it, the better, because yes – it seems to be becoming more prevalent. I hope that the March 20 1000Speak goes some small way to helping the situation.


  21. Bullying comes in all forms and I think it’s true more often than any of us would care to admit that we have probably engaged in less than admirable behaviors at some point in our lives. Like you said, we have to try to do it right. Even unintentional “fun” can ultimately be detrimental.
    There is work to be done…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know I have. I got very, very good at it. I’m not proud of it, but it is part of who I am, and even now my initial response is often unkind, and I have to capture my tongue and try to remember to say nothing, if I can’t say something nice. I’m getting there. Slowly.


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