There’s little I love more than finding great videos of the love and kindness of which humans are capable – and then sharing those videos with you. Let’s be clear here – there’s plenty I love as much as this, but little I love more. So, I am thankful for these lovely videos I’ve stumbled upon this week. Actually, now I think about it, I didn’t stumble upon them at all. They come to me via my Facebook feed, and they come to it because I signed up to various sites that post mostly positive and encouraging videos.
Probably the main source of these uplifting videos in my FB feed is Upworthy.com. I’ll be totally honest here: some of the videos they choose are really little more than rants about the state of the States or unkind people. While I can understand the frustration of people who make those videos, I don’t actually think it helps create solutions. (And I could be mistaken.) Whether I am mistaken or not, the videos I love to share are those that show people working towards solutions, turning things around, giving to others, or growing stronger in themselves.
Here’s a video that comes via Upworthy and that shows people finding solutions in incredibly difficult circumstances. I admire these doctors and nurses intensely, because of their courage, their skill, their perseverance. I was about to say that I don’t have the courage to do what they do (and I certainly don’t have their skills) but that’s not the point. I have other skills, other ways of showing courage, I’m not more or less than they are.
Perhaps my favourite of all, are the videos that either show people realising they are lovable just as they, or that encourage others to feel that way. Because we are all lovable, deep down, and all that stops us from acting that way is believing we aren’t. The more we realise that, the more we act in the way we’ve always thought we should. I notice this over and over in myself – if I am self-critical and feel bad about myself, I’m far more likely to want to pull other people down too. When I feel good enough, I’m kinder. I am so, so grateful for becoming aware of that. It does me no good at all to think that those doctors and nurses in the video above are somehow better than I am. And it does them no good either. All of us are born into different life circumstances and have different experiences that shape us, so for some people going into a war-zone to heal the sick is their heart’s calling, and for others it is sharing those inspiring people on the internet. All of it matters. I can be inspired, enormously inspired by someone, and it doesn’t mean they are better than I am. That’s good to know.
Here’s a video on that very subject from Blimey Cow.
I have only found Blimey Cow recently, but I could fill this post with their videos. They’re that good. If you’d like to explore further, check out their vloghere.
I’ve already posted this next video on Facebook, so some of you may have seen it there. If you have, it’s worth watching again. It’s my favourite for this week. If you haven’t seen it, this is that saying: “pay it forward” in action. I just love, love, love it.
That video came via UPtv, whose strap-line is: “uplifting entertainment.” I’m not sure I’d call the above video entertainment so much as inspiring.
I also love videos that expose myths in a way that bring hope and encouragement where it seems there was none. Our culture is incredibly good at finding things to worry about and the media overall love to point out how terrible things are. But this doesn’t actually help create change. Without hope, we give up and stop trying. Without hope, people feel there’s no point in making the huge effort it would take to create even a tiny change. With hope, we are able to keep going on even when things feel difficult. I noticed several hostile remarks in the comments below this video on YouTube, so it seems some people object to its subject matter (birth control.) Without getting into opinions about that, I’ll just say that to me the message of hope transcends the subject.This video comes via the Gates Foundation.
This next video is perhaps a little darker than the others. It’s of a little boy in Kenya, who is given help to meet his “bucket list” of things to do. Where he lives one in five children don’t make it to the age of five, due to unclean water. I’m not thankful for that, but I am thankful that people are working to change that. One charity doing so is Water is Life, who bring you this video. I like that this video (mainly) focuses on making things possible, rather than trying to scare us into making donations.
In case you think all I’ve done this week is watch videos, I’ve been reading too! My passion, purpose, mission (or whatever else you’d call it) in life is to become the most loving, compassionate person I can be. Partly we get there by practice – by kindness to others and to ourselves. Partly we get there by taking inspiration from others like those in these videos, and partly – for me at least – I get there by guiding my mind to come to see that what I’ve thought was true isn’t. That, of course, is what last week’s post Thankful for Questions was about, and it’s also why I read books that help me understand the way our minds work, the way the human mind evolved and so on. This week I’m reading The Compassionate Mind: A New Approach to Life’s Challenges by Paul Gilbert. In this, Gilbert explains that how we have evolved since the dawn of the human race has a lot to do with how we are today. He’s quite funny in places, particularly when discussing the reptile brain, and the similarities between posturing reptiles and fighting men. He also makes some very interesting points that I hadn’t seen in quite that way before. For instance: we didn’t choose to be born with the capacity to feel anger, rage or anxiety so there’s little point in berating ourselves for feeling that way. However, we can compassionately train our minds not to give in to those impulses.