Spread Love is The Brooklyn Way

October 27, 2019 |
Artwork by @kihomizuno. Show her some love on Instagram

It is around the time of year where I am responsible for reviewing my insurance and making changes to my plan. This week I received a pamphlet titled “My Voluntary Benefits Guide” which provided information on Critical Illness and Accident Insurance. Here are a few facts I found: - “Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a heart attack or stroke.”* - “Every 10 minutes 847 Americans suffer an injury severe enough to seek medical help.” These stats are just two of many that show how often people have life-changing events. I’m sure there are many of us that have known people who have been in such events. With the limited amount of time that we have on this planet, mixed in with how suddenly we can get injured or die, why is so much of our time spent arguing and fighting? Having differences and disagreements is natural, however, the way we have those conversations can oftentimes seem troubling. So, how can we improve the way we communicate with one another? In “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius, he writes “For it is no way right to be offended with men, but it is thy duty to care for them and to bear with them gently.” I believe that this is the foundation of better communication. Thinking back to times when someone yelled at me, I don’t recall responding well to it. And times where I was angry and exchanged verbal missiles at the people in my life, I don’t remember thinking “this is productive.” Yet with the people in my life I always reverted to the cycle of: argument, a period of poor communication and then a slow build-up back to cordiality. Am I the only person who has gone through this? If you haven’t had the chance to read “Meditations”, please give it a try. Marcus Aurelius drops gems throughout it. Another passage from the book reads, “today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness - All of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.” I try to say this to myself every day. It helps me understand that like myself, people are flawed. Most people are regularly thinking about themselves. Specifically, the bills they have to pay, their job, their relationships, their insecurities, what food to eat and countless other responsibilities running through their mind. When so much time is spent thinking of ourselves, we have a difficult time thinking about others. People are caught up in their own lives and that can lead to them not caring about the feelings of others. Their personal stresses bubble up and they lash out on anyone in their path. With that in mind, what is a good way to handle others lashing out at us? “Care for and bear with them gently.” As the world becomes more connected through technology, it seems that we are becoming more divided. In order to close that divide, we can all try caring for and treating each other more gently. Poet Rumi writes, “love is the bridge between you and everything.” I challenge you to build that bridge. *American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2018; viewed at https://healthmetrics.heart.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/At-A-Glance-Heart-Disease-and-Stroke-Statistics-2018.pdf