Last January, I wrote about the atrocities I’d noticed in the world, and the way people seemed to hide behind corporate blank looks and fear of raising their heads above the parapet, rather than deciding as individuals, to stand up for right, for good, for love. I had been brought to tears by soul-deep pain at tragic events in the world around me, had reached out to friends, and had been comforted by them and brought gently back into the light.
Love won, that day, confirming to me that I absolutely, most definitely needed a Village around me. My opinion hasn’t changed. The Village provides a wealth of experience, knowledge, and modelled behaviours, which would be impossible to garner alone in one lifetime. The Village provides stability, friendship, a secure base, encouragement, suggested boundaries, inherited wisdom, and unlimited opportunities for learning the most important lessons – how to DO life, and how to LOVE.
I hope the people in my Village have seen increases in my self-confidence, compassion, capacity to encourage, and my determination to include others. I was recently asked what I thought people liked about me, and in spite of an initial ‘rabbit in the headlights’ moment, those were some of the characteristics I was able to suggest, which I thought other people might value in me, or recognise as important.
I equally hope that there have been noticeable reductions in my destructive behaviours over the year; decreases in self-pity, in anger and tantrums, and *fingers crossed* in neediness. That said, I *know* I’m a bit needy, as can often be the way with the chronically insecure (though getting secure-er, thanks to all the positive changes and reassurance of true friendships).
On the evening I began writing this post, in a mirror of the night I first wrote, I called out for support and encouragement, as I was feeling low. My Village crowded around me and buoyed my spirits, telling me wonderful things of love and hope and care, and their actions and kindness were just right – just what I needed, and I’m SO grateful to each and every person who helped.
Despite the mirrored situation, the changes in myself are almost tangible. I’ve become stronger, more resilient, and less apt to panic. I still get upset and feel sadness about the distance from my goals, or some of the people I love, or the state of humanity, but I rarely fall off the edge into the abyss of depression any more. It’s wonderful, because it’s freed me to focus much more on the positives of life – on giving back with encouragement, support, and friendship, where before I was in a receiving role. I like being a giver.
Givers or takers, though, we all need the Village, because there are days when we just can’t do it alone (whatever ‘it’ is). We all need the comfort and encouragement of people around us, to boost us and remind us they have faith in our ability to at least try. Even on days when things aren’t falling apart, we benefit from the delight of warm reciprocal connections, and the opportunity to cheer others on. I am convinced we are designed for relationships of myriad variety as we go through life. I think our hearts and souls grow to the size of our connected world, and allow us to engage meaningfully with a vast number of others.
In the past year, I have seen bonds forged between people in the furthest corners of the globe, as they’ve aligned their intentions and written their worlds in terms of compassion in thought, in word, and in deed. I’ve seen action taken to promote justice, mercy, peacemaking efforts, and above everything, LOVE.
I’ve borne witness to championed causes, brave revelations, new trends in kindness, and a wonderful, growing excitement about promoting the 1000Speak movement. It has winnowed its way into many, many corners of the internet, drawing people together with threads of silver and gold as each person has added their efforts to the whole, working together to weave a glorious, bright, messy tapestry, declaring compassion, connection, and togetherness as some of the very best ways to do life.
We’ve done it – we’ve been stronger together, and every effort and intention has been shared, appreciated, and furthered by other members of our Village.
We’ve spent a year building the Village, and whilst I don’t think there has been a distinct reduction in heartbreak headlines as a result, but there HAS been evidence to suggest an increase in people looking out for one another, stories championing kindness and humanity, and action taken to protect and help those in need.
There have been stories of respect found for people’s own selves, and for others. Tales of people taking responsibility, of making a difference, of being the difference. Epic journeys of self-discovery, which have reiterated time and time again, the revelation that we ALL are worthwhile; we ALL matter.
The times are still stormy, but we’re demonstrating resilience and determination in the face of forces which seek to divide us. We’re meeting the challenges head-on and discovering more and more that #LoveWins. We’re together, we’re stronger.
We need each other: we ARE The Village.
Let’s keep growing us.
This month, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion continues to work toward a better world with a focus on Celebrating A Year of Compassion.
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