Hearts and minds
The two most valuable possessions we own.
Yet both have become neglected, deconditioned and out of shape.
In the physical sense, yes, but in a much wider sense too.
We’ve toughened our hearts so that we don’t seem to care as much about people and their struggles as we could.
We help others far less, considering that it’s ‘none of our business’ to get involved.
We see pain, suffering, struggles, unfairness and injustice all around us and walk on by without a second thought and then despair when others walk by at times when WE are in pain, suffering, struggling and being treated unfairly.
But we never quite connect the dots. We never see that our own indifference and inaction to others's suffering is part of the bigger problem.
And while our hearts are toughening, our minds are becoming more tender than ever.
We watch the same TV shows again and again, visit the same websites and have the same conversations over and over and over again, living a kind of groundhog day where time passes but growth never happens.
If we read, we read only the authors and topics we’re already comfortable with, never daring to stretch out for something that might make us examine ourselves or the world around us in a
different way or one that challenges our existing worldview.
And when we’re questioned, or worse, disagreed with on one of our comfortable topics we’re offended, hurt and even outright angry.
“How dare they not agree with MY view of things?”
Tough hearts and tender minds.
But it could all be VERY different if we all just flipped the switch and chose to create tender hearts and tough minds instead.
With tender hearts we’d see the opportunity that each of us has every day to do even the smallest thing thing to ease someone else’s passage through life.
Everyone has fears… a tender heart could offer comfort and ease as few of them.
Everyone has frustrations… a tender heart could offer solutions.
Everyone has dreams and desires… a tender heart could encourage and support others as they pursue them.
You don’t have to change the whole world for every person in it today. (You can do that in a few weeks) : )
But you CAN change someone’s world in even a small way by showing tenderness, acceptance, connection, care and compassion.
Just one person helped each day in some small way would be 365 people a year having an easier journey through life… because of you!
And of the tough mind?
Start by reading wider and deeper around the topics that you already know and care about.
Then start reading around topics that you don’t know and expand your horizons and see what else is going on out there in the world.
When your horizons are wider, expand them again by seeking the views that are in opposition to your own and see if you can understand why they think the way they do and what you can learn from them.
Finally, toughen your mind by being more accepting of the views of others.
Allow them their beliefs and world views… even if you think they are wrong. Share your views but don’t seek to ‘win’ (whatever that means).
You’ll know if your mind is tough if you can learn new things and assimilate them into your life rather than seeking to maintain the apparent ‘balance’ of your current life.
You’ll know if your mind is tough if you can hear ideas that run contrary to your own and you do not feel the need to attack either it or the person delivering it.
You’ll know if your mind is tough if you can argue FOR the points of an opposing idea. EVERY concept has SOME merit, right?
You’ll know if your mind is tough if you can avoid naiveté and gullibility by engaging in healthy scepticism without it turning into destructive cynicism.
You’ll know if your mind is tough when you no longer feel the need to win and instead, simply want to share your story of what you believe to be true.
The potential of a tender hearts and tough minds approach to living is one that can and, I believe, WILL change lives.
The choice is your (as it’s always been) to decide which approach you’ll take as you go through life.
Where will you spend your toughness?
Where will you spend your tenderness?
The days of your life and the very fabric of the world will be shaped by your answer…
Truth, joy and love
P.S – Thank you to Martin Luther King for the idea behind this message. He spoke of tough minds and tender hearts long before I was born…