9 Inspiring Quotes On Humanity. By Dr Linda Berman.

What words and phrases can we use to explain the concept of humanity?

Here are a few that come to mind. There are many more:

Unconditional love, acceptance, patience, tolerance, caring, humility, selflessness, generosity, compassion, creativity, teamwork, empathy, kindness….. a thesaurus of caring!

The following nine quotations, drawn from the precious experience of some wise and truly inspirational human beings, also express some important principles of humanity:

1.“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”

Desmond Tutu

50018007108_cf500035ae_oÉtienne Sándorfi – Ange Vous Regarde [1991] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

We are, indeed, inextricably joined together and have a multitude of intricate connections, necessary to our common humanity.

We also share a collective responsibility, to others, to ourselves, to the world. We are parts of a whole and whatever we do will affect others in some way.

This is intensely relevant during this pandemic. If some groups in the community are more prone to catching Coronavirus than others, we all need to take care to protect them through our own thoughtful behaviour.

In addition, if some people do not follow the social distancing rules, we are all inevitably going to be affected.

“The future of humanity is in our hands.” 14th Dalai Lama

“Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.” Thomas Keneally

“One person of integrity can make a difference.” Elie Wiesel

2. “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
Mahatma Gandhi

41471857762_8e0224acf4_oEmil Nolde – A Fresh Day at the Seaside [1906] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.

It is important not to lose our belief in humanity if we encounter dishonest or destructive people.

When one is betrayed, hurt or disillusioned with others, it might be tempting to generalise from this experience.

There are also good, caring people in the world, who are full of humanity and lovingkindness.

Whilst there are no perfect people, for everyone has a shadow side, there are many who have learnt to control the less acceptable aspects of their personality and allowed their good sides to shine out.

3. “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”
Dalai Lama

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Picasso – Old Guitarist [1903-04] Gandalf’s Gallery.Flickr. 

Love and compassion, caring and benevolence, are the cornerstones of our humanity. Being able to empathise with those who are suffering and struggling, and showing benevolence and compassion, is crucial.

May we always be burdened with thinking of the suffering of others, for that is what it means to be human.

Kamand Kojouri

4. “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.”
Leo Tolstoy

7560465582_66eb18ee3a_oOrange Sellers, Newlyn. Harold Harvey. 1907. Wikimedia Commons.

Helping others is a key element in our humanity; showing understanding and empathy for another is essential if we wish to maintain love for our fellow human beings.
Working in the service of others, whatever that work might be, will make us- and them- happier.
Mother Teresa
34003392691_f64328fc45_o
Roy Lichtenstein – Finger Pointing [1973]. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
Lack of judgement is centrally important in terms of how we relate to others.
If we continually judge others, we may be overlooking our own failings and projecting these onto the people around us.
This is the opposite of humanity and indicates a lack of self-knowledge.

Finding fault is a way of deflecting the focus from ourselves. In addition, it keeps others at arm’s length and means we are continually setting ourselves above people.

Having a sense of superiority over others may indicate an inner lack of confidence, despite the high-handed façade.

6. “Moral courage is the highest expression of humanity.”
Ralph Nader
Rosa_Parks_being_fingerprinted_by_Deputy_Sheriff_D.H._Lackey_after_being_arrested_on_February_22,_1956,_during_the_Montgomery_bus_boycott
Rosa Parks being fingerprinted on February 22, 1956, by Lieutenant D.H. Lackey as one of the people indicted as leaders of the Montgomery bus boycott. Wikimedia Commons.
“Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground. “
Rosa Parks
Standing up for what you believe, especially against all odds, like Rosa Parks did, is a highly courageous act.
To maintain one’s convictions in such situations is a powerful part of being strongly human in an often frightening world.
7. “My humanity is a constant self-overcoming.”
Friedrich Nietzsche
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Looking Within. Kelly Birkenruth . 2019. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
This is, perhaps, the most important of all the aspects of humanity listed here.
To be able to be aware of oneself is a unique gift that will help to ensure that we remain clear about who we are in the world.

It will enable us to monitor our own personal development, to look more kindly on others, to be more in control of our feelings.

Self-knowledge will mean that we become more open, and this open-mindedness will inevitably increase our humanity.

Self-examination helps us to be more ourselves, more real and true to ourselves. In this way, we can learn to be more true to others, more authentic as a person.

“If you want to awaken all of humanity, awaken all of yourself.”
Lao Tzu
8. We have to do the best we are capable of. This is our sacred human responsibility.
Albert Einstein
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Michael DeVore – The Burden of Knowledge [2012] Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
Doing our best for ourselves and for the world makes us a good role model for others. It shows that we care enough to make a supreme effort, which further demonstrates our humanity.

Making our very best effort, as far as we can, is a way of giving, to ourselves and others.

Doing this well gives a sense of achievement and generally makes us happier; in turn, we will make others happier as a result.

9. “We must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph.”
Elie Wiesel
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Lucien Freud. Bella. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
Appreciating the worth of other people is crucial if we are to retain our humanity.
Every one of us on this earth needs to feel valued.  Valuing others and each individual is a part of what makes up our humanity.

Accepting difference and diversity, listening and showing empathy to others, recognising the worth of ourselves and those around us, all contribute to making us decent and humane people.

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain ;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
Emily Dickinson.
©Linda Berman.

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