Meaningfulness

Goodness evokes kindness, empathy, and thoughtfulness. The actions of a good person are often thought to involve holding the door, being generous, and caring.

But goodness must extend beyond a kind of selflessness, which might be called a gentleness of character, to include a kind of resiliency, or strength of character.

This strength manifests as endurance, the ability to withstand the negative forces of life with courage, patience, and sureness – knowing that all things, good and bad, will come to pass.

Unfounded criticism is endured through steadfast conviction and confidence.

Irrational frustration is endured through equanimity, a calm balance of emotions.

And the pangs of loneliness are endured through the cultivation of self-reliance and comfort with solitude.

enormoussmallness5

An illustration from Enormous Smallness, a biography about E.E. Cummings, an inspiring hoper

I’m stressed
Overworked and just a mess
I like to practice mental rest
Mindfulness to soothe distress
I’d like to write, read many books, and plan for tests

And plan for papers

And plan for work

And plan for plans so I can practice mental rest

But I’m upset
I’d like to explore and play and swim and joke and snort
And cuddle in a pillow fort

But I’m pressed for time
There’s much to do
Seriousness about hullabaloo

People in charge have decided that funs too fun
And, “Well, there’s a time for that”
It’s set for seven; haven’t you looked?
It’s there within our discipline book

You’re grown now, after all
If you’re to succeed, you must learn to settle with less
What’s all this with creative work, sincerity, and imagination?

Don’t you know the worlds at war?
Our nation’s facing several disgraces
Don’t you know there are czars and greed?
Don’t you know you there are drunks in bars and poverty,
Anxiety, and people in the streets with no food to eat?
Responsibility means you must pursue industry

Adults show up, despite disease
You’ve committed; our society requires you to be
Tired and buttoned-down – to the tee
Speaking of, have you practiced your golf swing?
You’ll need to if you will compete most effectively

Be grateful, it once was worse
Children had to work and didn’t learn
And hours lasted and smoke would burn in city streets

You see: the world is unkind
People lie and care for their lives
They forget they’re kids inside
And choose to hide behind a role that they decide

It’s confusing, I know; I feel it too

And what are we to do?

There’s a secret thing
I’m so happy to share with you:
Don’t listen to those authorities

It’s scary, I know, but success just needs faith and hope

Don’t sacrifice who you are inside
To be a part of something that makes people mope

Hear your heart and help your friends
You might need to plan now and then

But it’s okay to take the time for jokes and snorts and pillow forts

And live your life
Don’t give it up; just keep focus
Practice your passion and commit some time
You might fail but eventually you’ll notice

You’ve built a life you love
And the dreams people told you to believe were true
They were just a bit tough
There’s no right answer
So don’t worry, keep going, and do what’s right for you

It seems like we used to do a lot more talking about how the grass only seems greener on the other side.

Maybe it’s overplayed.

But social media has made it so easy to compare yourself to others that it’s worth regular reminders.

Your self-worth, social standing, and reputation is absolutely unrelated to the amount of likes you get.

Spend your mental energy cultivating meaningful relationships.

It’ll pay much greater dividends in the long-term.