I get pretty rattled by news like what happened in Boston today, as I’m sure we all do. I considered avoiding the subway, walking home from work, and skipping my spinning class… but instead squeezed myself into a crowded subway car with hundreds of other New Yorkers, and sweat my butt off at the gym with twenty other members. So glad I did both. Being on the subway reminded me that this city (and all cities, towns, places, etc.) is filled with good people, and we are all fighting our own battles and maybe we need to take a step back and cut each other (and ourselves) a little slack. And thank goodness for my Monday night spin instructor, who is just the right amount of motivational. She told us that the only thing we can really do to help improve the world is to constantly and consistently work to improve and better ourselves. (She also ended the class by screaming at us “You are love! You are light! You are wisdom!” A little cheesy, but I loved it!) The self is extremely important but, as I am reminded today, the collective good is also vital; we need to focus on both.
From Mr. Roger‘s Parenting Book:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping,'” he wrote. “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.”
And from comedian Patton Oswalt:
The vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”