Why compassion and love are as important as food
“7 billion human beings all have the potential for affection, 7 billion people all want a happy life and have the right to a happy life”
And luckily I’m one of them!
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the 10th annual ‘Happiness & Its Causes’ conference which saw the world’s brightest minds in psychology, science, education, business, religion and the arts come together to educate and inspire thousands of people at Sydney’s beautiful Luna Park. I also had the good fortune to hear the Dalai Lama speak those inspiring words above and so many more.
On reflection, His Holiness took me back to when I was 18yrs old and and had decided that my life’s course would see me striving for love, connection, compassion, empathy, purpose and happiness. Without doubt, this path has been circuitous, and continues to experience curve balls, but his words reignited my trust and belief in human nature and what we can collectively achieve. And just maybe that means happiness too!
Charlie Scudamore, principal at Geelong Grammar is another exemplary human who is fighting for happiness. He has introduced Positive Psychology to his school and is passionate about finding what he and other teachers can do to improve the lives of children.
Mr Scudamore says.
“We would like to make the world a more peaceful and kinder place,”
In our affluent nation, there are so many young people with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, stress.
However, there are many schools around the world who are beginning to embed positive psychology in their curriculum. “We teach it as a subject, alongside mathematics and history,” he says. Thinking back, I reckon I could have used one of his positivity classes after a double period of maths!
He believes, and I agree, that education has been hijacked by too much assessment. He states that while it’s good to have academic success, the ‘developed countries’ have lost their way by focusing too much on outcomes and less on positive well being. Mr Scudamore’s focus is on creating positive communities through our schools, classrooms, families and organisations by focusing on wellbeing. Specifically, he believes these 5 things can help shape positive communities:
- And above all else, HOPE
He believes that if our children leave school with a developed sense of co-operation, kindness, and doing good things for other people, the world just may end up being a better place.
Both speakers believe that modern education has a strong orientation towards materialism and that we need to question whether this will result in positive human beings and bring happiness to people.
“A materialistic life is no guarantee for inner peace or inner happiness, yet inner peace is the ultimate source of a happy life”
And one of my biggest a-ha! moments occurred with the realisation that self-care and self-worth wasn’t some new-age indulgence at all. It makes a whole lot more sense to regard taking care of oneself as something we owe to ourselves, to society and our communities.
“Micro moments of connection are not just about our own health, but also about the other person we are connecting with…..Working on yourself is not hedonistic, rather self-improvement will ripple out affects to the next person and then the community”
So it seems the secret to happiness for us and our children doesn’t lie in the latest iPad or Netflix (as fun as they can undoubtedly be), but rather lies in being loving and compassionate human beings, connectedness, self improvement, service to society, mindfulness and love.