Oh, the heartbreakingly tender weight of being human. – Ava
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness. – Seneca
What we don’t need in the midst of struggle, is shame for being human. – Brene Brown
RULES FOR BEING HUMAN
(Handed down from ancient Sanskrit)
- You Will Receive a Body
You may like it or not, but it will be yours for the entire period.
- You Will Learn Lessons
You are enrolled in a full-time, informal school called Life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.
- There are No Mistakes, Only Lessons
Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation. The ‘failed’ experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately works.
- A Lesson is Repeated Until It is Learned
A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it, and if you do, you can go on to the next lesson.
- ‘There’ is No Better Than ‘Here’
When your ‘there’ has become ‘here,’ you will simply obtain another ‘there’ that will, again, look better than ‘here.’
- Others are Merely Mirrors of You
You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
- What You Make of Your Life is up to You
You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
- The Answers Lie Inside You
The answers to life’s questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen and trust.
- You Can Forget All This, but You Will Remember It When You Want To
Being human, being born at all, is a gift. There’s no questioning that. Life is precious. To be alive with a fully-functioning brain and heart, and even a relatively healthy body, is a gift. But that doesn’t mean being human is a cakewalk, that every day is filled with rainbows and unicorns.
If you are human, the people you love and trust will disappoint you. Sometimes often. Sometimes it will have been intentional, but most times not.
As soon as we get close to someone, we begin to see their true humanity and brokenness, and then we have to decide—Am I going to overlook their faults? Am I still going to love that person in front of me? — Russell Johnson
If you are human, you’re going to be conflicted often. Clarity, like beach sand as the waves hit it, is constantly being nudged and mangled. What is true and what isn’t? Where should I side on this issue? Am I a good person? Am I the best person I can be? Best son? Best friend?
If you are human, you will make mistakes. Yes, the older you get, the wiser you get, but the older you get, the more mistakes you will have made. That’s a certainty. Hopefully those mistakes revert to lessons, as noted in the Sanskrit text above. Sometimes our mistakes really do become lessons, as we learn and course-correct, but even still, we can’t undo the damage. That car is already totaled. That heart is already broken. That friend may still feel jilted. All we can hope for is forgiveness and understanding.
Being human is a condition that requires anesthesia. — Freddie Mercury
If you are human, you will, at some point, hurt someone you love and, in turn, you will wound yourself worse. You’ll carry guilt with you—in the shower, to bed, halfway across the country on an airplane. You’ll replay what you did or said, over and over, in slow-motion, from different angles, trying to determine if it was as bad as you’ve been told, or as bad as you think it was.
If you are human you’ll have many moments of triumph—even small ones—that make you grateful to be alive. You’ll feel joy. Maybe even a sense of wonder. You’ll gain new awareness. Without even knowing or expressing it, you’ll feel gratitude that you’re a human being, walking and yawning and trundling around on this huge orb we call Earth.
If you are human, at some point you will know someone who gets divorced. Someone who becomes gravely ill. Someone who gets into an accident. Someone who passes away.
You will also know someone who loved strong against all odds. Someone who won against injustice. Someone who saved a life or a principle worth saving. Someone who was a hero in the mist.
You’ll see, and hear, and experience things that will shock you in both grand and awful ways.
Most likely, at some point, you’ll wonder why you were born, what’s your purpose. That’s because you’re human, and ever curious.
Being human affords us a menagerie of experiences and opportunities. We get to be both spectator and participant. And sometimes, in the dark moments, or the trying times, we can easily forget what a blessing that is.
Of course, one of the things that makes us most human is hopefulness. The belief that things will work out, be okay, be better than okay, or better than they are now. But the very fact that we are human makes it easy for us to lose hope. We witness horrid things all the time, which could make bitterness the preferred option. Pessimism the option. Where we might think we should stay rooted where we are—in our rigid thoughts and heart space—and not try to see or hear what our fellow human beings have to tell and enlighten us with.
It’s really easy to love the people who agree with us. And if we’re being honest, what we want (when we converse with other people) is to hear our own thoughts and opinions coming out of the other person’s mouth. — Russell Johnson
Being human means that we are alike, but different. We have free-will, our own individual beliefs and point-of-views. And that means we sometimes collide. Amid polarization, it can get extremely difficult to, “Love your neighbor as you would love yourself,” because you can forget that they’re your neighbor, that they’re a human being like you.
Being human in these current times, especially if you’re an American, is very unsettling. Some days it feels like the world is going to end before the sun sets, and that we—human beings—are going to be the cause of it. All our anger and distrust, all our wounds and misunderstandings clashing head-on, is going to burn down the planet. In the heat of the moment, it might even feel good to picture such a thing. But after a few minutes, it’s only scary, frightening even.
But if you’re human, you were born with a hope gene. Some peoples’ hope gene is more vibrant than others. Some peoples’ hope gene gets expressed in unusual ways, even in anger. But it’s hope we have to have. Hope that what must change will change sooner than later. Hope that we can love people and accept people who may not resemble us in thought or body. Hope that, because we are human beings, our humanity will ensure our successful survival.
It’s a long journey between being human, and human being. — Think Twice
If you are human, you’re going to look at the world sometimes, like right now, and wonder if it isn’t going to self-combust. You’ll wonder if we can still listen to each other without automatically shutting a door. You’ll wonder if we’ll always be divided and will the chasm always be this vast. You’ll wonder how hate and violence can take from you those who were born in the same way you were.
But if you are a human being, you’ll always carry hope with you. Even a spark of it. It’s been implanted in you, like thirst or hunger. Hope is in you and each of us. You’ll maybe think—Yeah, it’s really scary right now, I don’t know how all this is going to end… but I have faith in myself, I have faith in you. I have faith that we’ll learn how much we need each other and why we do.