Why the world needs more compassion, honesty, and empathy

To understand the different factors and lifestyles that cultivate an optimistic outlook, Life is Good conducted a national optimism survey, just in time for Positive Thinking Day. With the results in mind, we asked fitness Instagrammer Asheton Brown (@smasheton) to explore one particular finding a little deeper: Optimists and pessimists alike agree that the world could use more compassion and honesty.

Hugs are weird.
Don’t touch me.
No, really. Don’t.
Why are you touching me?

Don’t talk about that.
You shouldn’t talk about that.
That’s really personal.
That’s not something people talk about.

It feels like society has come up with a lot of rules for what we can and cannot do around each other, and it’s made it hard for people to feel like they can just be themselves.

Can we all just shift?
I get that we all have our secrets.
My story hasn’t fully been told.
All my layers haven’t been shed.
But if I’m not out here ruffling feathers, my truth isn’t being lived.

Life is Good came out with an amazing study that showed that compassion and honesty are the values most seriously needed in the world right now. I’d like to add empathy into that mix. More than ever, we need empathy.

Compassion ultimately is having sympathy for someone and wanting to help.
Honesty is telling the truth.
Empathy takes us to another level of awareness and understanding with human-to-human connection through honest and genuine feeling, thought, and experience.

To me, empathy is being there for someone with compassionate understanding in whatever capacity is needed. Even if that means simply saying, “I get it.”

But here’s the thing, not everyone is always going to get it.
Not everyone is always going to be in a place in their life to just get it and give.
And that’s OK.

Unconditional love and honesty and truth? That’s hard for people. Being vulnerable is a huge part of being honest and compassionate.

It means getting real with ourselves long enough to get real with others. It means we’ve done the dirty work with our own demons or experienced something in life to be able to be there and show up when it’s time to show up for someone. Whatever we’ve lived through has put us in a place where we are able to share a piece of our optimist cake with the rest of the world. Yes, cake. Cake is bigger than pie and gives us more to share. Or maybe I’m just hungry as I write this metaphor.

I’ll be honest with you; I don’t always want to share my cake. And that’s okay, too. I’m human.

Being positive and living a positive life is more real talk than anything. I’m optimistic because I’m also pessimistic. I challenge my own thoughts daily, and the good wins. Like I said, my story hasn’t been fully told. The finer details of my traumatic childhood haven’t been shared. But that trauma taught me compassion. I don’t know where I learned it, but something along the way taught me that through the lies and pain and hurt, light existed in that darkness. Why? Because I chose happy. I watched and learned and listened and chose who I would be today.

This girl who hated being touched—who couldn’t stand to be hugged—has evolved into the woman who hugs strangers when she sees their need, who gives without reason. And that kind of positive evolution is in you, too.

Your walls can come down.
Your truth is there.
What others think of you should only brush the surface.
All that matters is that you stay honest with yourself.
Be compassionate.
Be honest.
Find your positive.