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This article is excerpted from a longer article by Michelle Brenner on mediate.com, a site with many interesting offerings. CONTACT offers mindful active listening training that helps us to “reposition the direction for well being away from satisfying self to appreciation.” We can provide a volunteer venue that is ideal for practicing mindful transcendence of self and cultivating appreciation for others.
“It is widely known that there is a crisis of confidence in the professionals Almost every skill and trade has become a profession for status, for standards and for money. The crisis is largely related to a lack of trust in delivery of the profession. The professional who was once upon a time seen as the most honorable person one could find, is now seen as the new self serving businessman.
One of the functions of being a person as well as a professional is to survive, to be able to pay bills, keep updating knowledge and satisfy the human needs that include feeding and housing self and family. The second function which is not a runner up, but actually considered as critical for defining a human being is the need for transcendence. The ability to go beyond the self. In Positive Psychology Martin Seligman has repositioned the direction for well being away from satisfying self to appreciation. This shift is a defining moment in the history of human educational development. The shift takes us away from the survival element of human needs, the focus on fear, on anxiety and on depression, towards a focus on the transcendent part of being human, developing awareness and practices that go beyond self centeredness. Many people knew this from the beginning of time, but for many reasons including the rise of the professional, this wisdom of compassion, generosity and kindness did not make it to the professional standards and competency list.
It is well known that many years ago, when a person went to their doctor with signs of stress, grief, depression or sadness, one of the recommendations was a change of scenery, (an experience of appreciation, and beauty) and to do some volunteer work, help others in need. (an experience of kindness, expanding beyond the self, generosity) The Psychologist Eric Erickson created a term to describe this stage of life from the mid 40’s to the mid 60’s. He named it Generativity vs Stagnation. Generativity is the concern for guiding the next generation based on what one has discovered was beneficial in one’s own life. It takes us about 40 years to have enough experience and time to discover what really matters and Eric Erickson saw that successful and well adjusted elderly people were people who looked back over their lives and recognized where they had received benefit, where it came from and had the desire to give back, to keep the appreciation on a journey.”