Being Truly Human: The Two Core Elements of Human Potential
Being human is a gift we carry with us from birth, as well as a challenge. As madness swirls around us in today's world, it is important that we take the time to truly experience our humanity. In the end, it is our greatest calling, the key to our happiness, and the only salvation for our world and our civilization.
According to the site, http://nethelpful.org, human beings as a species tend to be egotistical. We insist that we are the superior beings on Earth—and even in the universe. As individuals, our egos tend to tally up our heritage, luck, skills, education, money, appearance, and other factors to make us feel like we are superior to other human beings, as well. This, of course, makes us egocentric on an individual level, and less human in reality. When we lose our reverence for Creation or our compassion for others, we have lost our humanity and potential to achieve true happiness and self-realization.
If we are lucky, the pain and struggle we experience over the course of our lives will humble us enough to feel a kinship with our fellow human beings. In reality, we humans and our Earth are but a speck occurring for the flash of a microsecond. Yet each of us has been given the opportunity to use our fleeting moment to play our unique moment. Appreciating
the universe around us is the pinnacle of human experience. Contributing
to it is the peak of human potential.
Learning, experiencing, and practicing what it means to be “human" is a lifelong process. We create the milestones along this path, and we can do so at any time, in any situation, and without cost or even much effort on our part. Learning to be human can be achieved by performing human acts when opportunities arise, and feeling the results. We can be on the lookout for these opportunities, for they are abundant.
A person needs to be truly human before he can be truly helpful to another human being. Helpfulness is an expression of human compassion, which perhaps is the noblest emotion of them all. Our sense of compassion comes with time, as we experience pain and suffering in our own lives, and see others experiencing the same. Our humanity matures as we mature.
Empathy requires us to have felt the pain of being human before we can recognize and empathize with another person who is experiencing similar pain. We can also empathize with others who are feeling moments of optimism and joy to the extent that we have experienced the same feelings. So, our ability to empathize with other human beings is limited by our exposure to the experiences they are dealing with.
Compassion is the mark of our awareness and understanding of the human condition. This empathy for another human being, when conveyed successfully, is powerful beyond belief. It energizes both the recipient and the giver with a sense of the potential of humanity for good and noble purpose—as the interaction causes both to recognize their human potential. It creates a moment of solidarity with a fellow traveler. It validates us as human beings, acknowledges our worth, and reveals the content of our hearts. It makes us feel visible among the faceless masses, and acknowledges our existence, our intentions and our value.
There is also no “faking" it—an effort to do so would produce a “negative charge" for both the receiver and the giver. A smile with no empathy would be like a joke with no truth behind it.
Conveying human compassion through an empathetic gesture is very similar. It requires a mutual understanding and acknowledgement of an underlying truth without making a big deal about it. When you are stuck in traffic, it can be making eye contact with the person in the car stuck next to you and rolling your eyes with a smile. You are both experiencing the same thing, and at that moment, your experience is shared in a way that makes it lighter for both of you.
Just making genuine eye contact with another person is enough to make a human connection. No words or even facial expressions are needed to make both people feel visible to and acknowledged by another human being.
Human compassion is at the core of being helpful. And, compassion is something we can experience for others who are dealing with things we, ourselves, have struggled to overcome. If everyone made an effort to be compassionate and helpful, as their normal mode of interacting with others, the world would become a different place. Different, indeed, from the “distracted" society in which many of us find ourselves living—but much more in keeping with our natural human tendencies and potential.
Published with permission from http://nethelpful.org