September is Self-Improvement Month. Self-Improvement can mean something different to everyone. For some people, self-improvement is learning a new hobby, going to therapy for the first time, or even finally responding to texts in a timely manner. Whatever it looks like for you, I think we can agree that working on personal self-improvement can help those around us. Taking the time and effort to work on ourselves can be inspiring to co-workers, friends, and family.
In celebration of Self-Improvement Month, we're talking about the fourth pillar of the Earth Charter today. The Earth Charter is a document made up of four pillars and sixteen principles about actions and adaptable values that can make the world a better place for everyone. Medcom is a strong partner with Earth Charter International, the organization that puts the Charter into action and helps other organizations and individuals do the same. The four pillars are Respect and Care for the Community of Life, Ecological Integrity, Social and Economic Justice, and Democracy, Nonviolence, and Peace.
Let's break down the fourth pillar: Democracy, Nonviolence, and Peace. When you hear each of these words, they can individually have their own stories for you. Each person can associate these words with something negative or positive based on their life experience and environment. So let's simplify it and talk about their definitions.
Democracy has multiple definitions and is usually referred to as a system of government. In this context, Democracy is defined as, "the practice or principles of social equality."
Non-violence is assumed to simply mean the absence of violence, however, it's defined as, "the use of peaceful means, not force, to bring about political or social change." This definition means a lot more than the lack of violence. It ties-in with peace and also defines its typical purpose, which is to bring change.
We're all familiar with peace and its association with the peace sign, the dove, or the end of war. Peace is defined as, "freedom from disturbance; tranquility." So, it refers to not only an absence of fighting or violence but an absence of any type of disturbance.
So what does this have to do with Self-Improvement?
In the current social and political climate a simple word, phrase, or term that someone defines can end relationships, cause people to feel isolated, and make people feel as though they are on their own. The intention behind the pillar, Democracy, Nonviolence, and Peace, isn't just the removal of disturbance or violence, it's about bringing people together and making certain they don't feel alone on a planet of seven and a half billion people. It's about co-existing, no matter how different we are. It feels so easy to disagree right now, that doesn't mean you should. Or even if you do, that doesn't mean you have to argue. Or even if you do, that doesn't mean you have to cut people out.
This is a time to be kind to each other and this is a time to find common ground. Democracy, Nonviolence, and Peace is meant to be about us looking out for each other, not finding reasons to dislike each other. So in this sense, self-improvement is about being there for others and not putting them in a box. So this month, see what you can do for someone else.
Suicide prevention week was Sept. 6th through Sept. 12th. This is particularly important during a global pandemic. If you or someone you know is struggling, the national suicide prevention lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Stay safe.