Thursday, February 16, 2017

One Thing The World Needs More Of: Compassion

One word: Compassion. In the dictionary, it's a noun defined as "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others."

Forget hate, anger, fear, and anti-whatever. Remember to have some compassion for your fellow humans, your neighbors, strangers, and your loved ones.

In this current day and age, we need more compassion for ourselves, for each other and especially for those who are less fortunate than us.

With compassion, comes so many other things too, like empathy and understanding. Many times the urge to help others is strong with the people who are compassionate, empathetic, and understanding. They are often synonymous, turning compassion into a verb because it drives people to act. 

When I Google'd compassion for the definition, I also found that there is an organization called Compassion International, which is a Christian humanitarian aid organization dedicated to the long term development of children living in poverty around the world through sponsoring opportunities. I'd have to do some research on it before forming an opinion, but it's a great example shown just in their name, short mission statement, and actions that they have compassion for children living in poverty. They have created opportunities for the children by creating the opportunity for other compassionate people to help them who may not otherwise know how to help. 

Compassion drives out fear and misunderstandings because it shows that the people who are compassionate are also educated, selfless, and will do what they can to help others. We need more people with compassion in this world to drive out the fear, to educate others to drive out the hate, and to be pioneers and lead by example. And then, hopefully one day, sooner rather than later, we'll finally see more peace, love, and harmony in our world.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Survivor Love Letter

Dear Survivor of Sexual Abuse,

This Valentine's Day and every day, celebrate that you or a loved one, are a survivor of sexual abuse. Remind yourself that what happened is not your fault. You are better than what happened. You are loved. You are beautiful. You are enough. You are a survivor. You are a warrior. You are still here, still alive, still fighting for yourself and that makes you strong and worthy of everything good in this world. I hope you realize that it is okay to not be okay, and just as important to not stay there in those shitty moments. Keep making the choice to get back up and battle against your inner demons.

Make today the day you take a step towards healing. Try to answer the question, what does self-care mean to you? An article on Bustle speaks about Tani Ikeda's version of self-care that included writing her own Survivor Love Letter in 2015. She later created the #SurvivorLoveLetter hashtag on social media on Valentine's Day 2016, "to empower survivors of sexual violence." Simply search #SurvivorLoveLetter on any given social media site, and you'll see that it has taken the sites by love storm again today on the third anniversary. The world loves you, and knows that you are enough. Together we will prove that victim blaming is wrong. I hope that reading those messages on social media shows you that don't have to get through this alone.

If you feel up to it, I recommend reading a personal account of sexual abuse called Invisible Target: Breaking the Cycle of Educator Abuse by Andrea Clemens. She is a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a then-admired teacher and wrote this book to tell her story as part of her healing process and in the hopes of helping others with similar experiences. It is empowering, eye-opening, and raw. Clemens provides as many details as her memory allows, and commentary from her survivor, adult perspective looking back on what she went through during the many years of abuse. At the end of each chapter, she includes questions to help the reader reflect on the material and I am thankful for the opportunity she built in to her book to take a few moments to think about what she endured at the hands of her verbally abusive father and sexually abusive teacher. I don't know what I would have done if I were in her shoes or had heard from a friend in high school they were in a relationship with a teacher. I'd like to think I'd report it appropriately, but I really don't know if I would have done that as a teenager.

To my close friends and family members who are survivors, please know that while I do not know what it's like to be in your shoes, know that I love you and think of you as better than what happened. I do not see the sexual abuse or the resulting pain and heartache because I see the beautiful person you have always been and always will be. The amount of strength it takes you to get up everyday is astounding and inspiring. You fight every day against your demons and I am proud of you for choosing to keep battling. Every morning you choose to get up is a day that you are a winner. You are loved, you are enough, and you will always be better than what happened.

Sincerely,
Laura

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What I've Learned So Far About My 2017 Goals

January 2017 has come and gone so quickly that in reflection, I notice that I kept up only a little bit with posting and even less with reading. Since reading books is a large contributor to content for this blog, I better get right on it now shouldn't I?

In reflection, I did spend quite a bit of time networking with other bloggers, researching how to market my blog, on social media management, creating a Facebook page, researching domain hosts and content management systems, and ways to track my ideas and scheduling content.

I also realized that in creating a goal of reading 55 books this year, I hadn't really thought it through enough to realize that would mean reading 4.5 books a month, or a book a week. Which means every time I log-in to Goodreads, the 2017 Reading Challenge app glares at me with how many books I'm behind schedule. At the moment, it's a measly 3 so it's manageable. But still so overwhelming considering I just barely surpassed my goal of 30 last year.

Photo Credit: Shawn Campbell
What have I learned so far? Nothing is set in stone. It's okay to not have accomplished something in the set time frame. I realize now that 2017 is already full of lessons and has more to teach me in the world of blogging. I haven't even set a schedule yet and I already know that something I might want to post one day may not work because of external factors, planned or unanticipated.

That said, I think my best bet is to schedule something with pencil and paper so it's easily changeable. Or in an editable document if I ever get comfortable to be that technologically advanced with my scheduling.

One thing is for sure, be on the lookout in the near future for a post about The Nightingale by Krisin Hannah from my book club's January discussion, and one about Invisible Target: Breaking the Cycle of Educator Abuse by Andrea Clemens for our discussion later this month.

Do you have any suggestions on what I should read next? Check out my 2017 Books to Read post to pick and let me know your suggestion in the comments below.
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