Empathy

Special Needs

Ableism is discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities or who are perceived to have disabilities. Ableism characterizes persons as defined by their disabilities and as inferior to the non-disabled. ~ Wikipedia

I made the mistake of reading comments on an Instagram post in favor of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They were mostly positive. But, there was one naysayer who stood out for his initial lack of vitriol. He was just mildly snarky. But, it was like he had committed some heinous sin, instead of posting a disagreement rooted in ignorance.

He was immediately under attack. Mostly the responses remained as snarky comebacks. However, one of them made me cringe.

It sounds like your boss is good at hiring people with special needs.

I couldn’t scroll past without addressing it.

Back in the day, the insult used was, “retard,” frequently accompanied by a physically mocking action. Much like 45’s mocking actions regarding a reporter who experiences a physical disability.

Another one is, “riding the short bus.”

However you frame it, it’s showing a prejudice toward people with disabilities, especially intellectual ones.

How about how mental health challenges are referred to?

What are you, crazy?

Man, that was INSANE!

She’s so bipolar.

That one’s not right in the head.

Or the fact that so many movies and TV shows portray mental health patients as dangerous killers and all the shootings being reported as someone with mental illness, before an evaluation can be done?

The stigma and prejudices against people with physical, developmental, and mental disabilities is real and insidious. Just as we need to recognize, call out, and address racism, in all its forms, sexism, genderism, and sizism, we need to call out ableism.

It isn’t about political correctness, it’s about human rights.

For more on my perspective on ableism, go here.

Six Word Friday: Kind

Kind
May kind ribbons encircle each heart

bleeding from conflict, abuse, and terror.

May empathy and compassion set apart

judgment for understanding, regarding every error.

May healing from a sad start

instill Love, Hope, and Faith forever.

(c) 11/20/2015, lem

Six Word Fridays are hosted by Adrienne at My Memory Art. Please go visit to discover more Six Word Friday creativity!

P.E.A.C.E.

This month’s Peace Challenge to make Peace go viral is called, “Mad Men.”

This month we are asking you to be Don Draper and construct an advertisement for peace . . . create a simple advertisement, . . . Let’s create a slogan that manifests peace . . . write a poem or a song that can become the “Imagine” for our generation . . . If you are a photographer or artist, how about a piece that we can post on billboards that will promote peace? . . . you could write a short story or screenplay for a short film that can be made and broadcast for peace. ~ Kozo, everyday gurus, Mad Men Peace Challenge

Practice
Empathy
Acceptance
Compassion
Esteem

1) Peace is not a passive, do-nothing, sensation which manifests simply because we wish it or will it into existence. It requires thought, determination, and action. Be what you want to experience in the world. Repeatedly. Intentionally. Practice peaceful action. Rehearse peaceful thoughts. Exercise peaceful choices. Make a proactive decision to choose peaceful responses in the midst of volatile and conflicted situations and relationships. If not you, then who?

2) Empathy is a critical component in the practice of peace. It is not to be confused with sympathy. Sympathy is two-dimensional, it offers soothing platitudes to the one who is suffering while allowing the one offering it to remain somewhat detached. Empathy means I let go of detachment and allow myself to feel what you feel. Your hurts become my hurts; your joys become my joys. Empathetic beings instinctively practice peace since peaceful action generates peaceful energy infusing those around them with peace, which, in turn, reenergizes them. Practicing empathy creates a peaceful and positive energy feedback cycle.

3) Acceptance is a key to practicing peace. Accepting does not mean agreeing or condoning dysfunction. It means releasing the expectation of how things should be and acknowledging them as they are. Accepting things as they are also means identifying root causes and conditions while letting go of associating blame or fault. Acceptance opens the way to practicing peace because it allows peaceful action and choice in the here and now.

4) Compassion goes hand in hand with empathy. Compassion establishes the framework for empathetic and peaceful action. Empathy enables us to feel what others feel; compassion compels us to take positive and constructive action. Empathy stopped the Good Samaritan when he encountered the bruised and bloody man on the road. Compassion is the thing that enabled him to set aside his agenda, get himself dirty, expend his own efforts, and use his resources to see to the care of a stranger. The practice of peace requires compassion for those we are familiar with and for those we are not.

5) Esteem is the essence of peaceful action. The people, principles, and things we hold in high regard are what we value. If we value peace, then we hold it in esteem. We show respect to peace by showing esteem and respect toward all people we encounter – especially the ones who may trigger our least peaceful thoughts and emotions. Esteeming all persons equally enables peaceful action.

1 Corinthians 13 New Century Version (NCV)
13 I may speak in different languages[a] of people or even angels. But if I do not have

    peace

 

, I am only a noisy bell or a crashing cymbal. 2 I may have the gift of prophecy. I may understand all the secret things of God and have all knowledge, and I may have faith so great I can move mountains. But even with all these things, if I do not have

    peace

 

, then I am nothing. 3 I may give away everything I have, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned.[b] But I gain nothing if I do not have

    peace

 

.

4

    peace

 

is patient and kind.

    Peace

 

is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. 5

    Peace

 

is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others.

    Peace

 

does not count up wrongs that have been done. 6

    Peace

 

takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. 7

    Peace

 

patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures.

What are you doing to practice peace?

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