I was at a meeting for a non-profit board that I serve on this week, and I was struck by something someone said. The sentiment was incredibly simple, yet it hit me powerfully. Our board was discussing the expectations and responsibilities expected of those serving on the board. We want the expectations of board members to be clear-cut so that people know what to expect when they join because it is an extremely active board. One board member said something to the effect of, "If I'm not overworked, then I'm going to be more likely to cover for someone or help someone out when they're busy." She continued by noting the fact that we all have lives and are humans first. She had the idea that she was able to be more human when people treated her like a human. I was reminded that when we take care of ourselves and feel our best selves, we are able to help others.
We live in a busy culture, and it's easy to think of only ourselves and how busy we are. In many ways, we are so work-driven in the United States. What person doesn't have a lot going on in his or her life? If we start recognizing that when we feel refreshed and energized, then we can support others in feeling similarly. It doesn't necessarily mean that we need to prioritize ourselves above others, but we also need to treat ourselves with some kindness and respect, too. If we don't treat ourselves well and don't feel worthy, then we aren't going to have the capacity to treat others well. Treating each other well doesn't just apply to work, but work is an opportunity we have to support each other and cheer each other on.
Relationships with people are some of the most precious treasures we have in this life. Relationships matter. The way we treat each other matters. The way we treat ourselves matter. We're in communities and relationships to help remind each other of our worth. The way we treat others reflects our character. It seems to me that we would do well to remember this. It's easy to feel disconnected and divided, especially when we're grappling with so many hurtful and hateful instances and rhetoric in every news cycle. It's so easy for people to feel shamed and ridiculed. It doesn't help when we don't respect and value each other's perspectives.
In this life, the way we treat each other matters, arguably more than anything else. The people around us have such an impact and influence on us, and we have an impact on those around us, though we may not see it. Let's remember that human beings are worthy of value and respect. Let's treat each other well and ourselves well.