It has been a wonderful day. It started far too early, when I went to work to attend the first meeting in the morning. I had one conversation with a patient, and then two other meetings and a long lunch with my collages. In between meetings I did some writing that needed to be done, and then I was finally ready for the weekend. 15:30 I drove to a friend who wanted to borrow some clothes, and talked with her for a bit. I then went home for a quick dinner and some relaxation.
I enjoyed myself with “the body keeps the score”, a brilliant book that I probably will reread many times since it`s packed with tips and knowledge.It is like a coffin filled with gold.
Feeling richer from listening to the audiobook, I drove to one of my best friends to watch “The voice”. We talked before the show, and under it. After a while another friend came, and her boyfriend, and we all had a good evening. We tried to plan what we should do together tomorrow, as there will be a big party with events during the day too. I will go to the library, pick up the new bike I have bought, and then go to the city centre for free concerts. Later I will prepare for the night and meet one of the girls who will join me in the show choir “surround”. She is a mother of two, and needs to do something else for a change. Like me, she works with trauma, and has a hectic life. We will drink some wine, sing and then join my other friends afterwards.
It has been a really good week, and I know tomorrow will be great, too. I feel so lucky, and struggle with not feeling bad about it. Like always, I wonder if I deserve it. I have so many fantastic people around me, the best job in the world, and the chance to do whatever I want. I have finally started taking singing and piano lessons, and can now dedicate myself to music like I always wanted. My heart reaches out to all the people out there who have so little in comparison. Why did I win the lottery by being born in one of the riches countries in the world, where we have every opportunity, while others are born into countries with war and poverty? I try to remember that I have suffered, too, and that I will help others for as long as I live. That relieves some of the guilt, but it`s still there.
To all my readers: I hope you have the same chance to lead a meaningful life as me. And if you aren`t quite there yet, that you can somehow change your circumstances and fight for the life you want.
Poverty. We know this word means suffering. We know it means a life of lost opportunities. But do we know the extent of this suffering ? How terrible it is to live under two dollars pr day? When I walk around in new clothes everyday, have an apartment I can sell and eat whatever I want, I feel guilty. I know guilt helps no one, so I try to use these feelings. By knowing about the state of things, I transform guilt to more productive energy. This is exactly the goal of the book ‘the locust effect’ by Gary A. Haugen. The author travels to all corners of the world to study and write about poverty and violence. He unveils the terrors of slavery, trafficking and general abuse that poor people endure. It’s a heartbreaking tale, but an important one too. By describing the life of millions through nightmarishly examples, the readers are forced to open their eyes. You can’t ignore the reality of so much suffering. There is no room for denial, no room for ignorance.
I have written about the terror of human trafficking and sexual slavery in earlier posts, so I am pleased to introduce a new post that is based on the book Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide that I`m reading right now. A wonderful emotional outlet, since it gives hope in addition to informing the readers about one of the crisis the world struggles with today.
Sometimes books about serious issues can be so depressing and overwhelming they’re hard to get through. Sometimes they’re so steeped in religious or political opinions that the real issues get lost. Sometimes they make broad assumptions or use fuzzy logic that leave you with more questions than answers.
Half the Sky is not one of those books.
More than 100 million women are missing – Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize-winning economist
Written by a married couple- the first married couple to win a Putlizer Prize- Half the Sky takes a look at gender inequality around the world. The authors consider gender inequality the current major humanitarian issue- on par with the Holocaust and slavery from the years past.
In their book, Kristof and WuDunn show how a little support can transform the lives of women and girls all over the world. “Women are not the problem,” they write, “they are the solution”. How so? Studies have indicated that when women hold assets or gain income, that money is more likely to be spent on nutrition, medicine and housing; consequently, their families are healthier. According to Half the Sky, for every dollar a woman earns, she invests 80 cents in her family; men are more likely to spend the majority on themselves. If a woman is given access to microfinance, livestock gifts and proper vocational training, she can begin to take charge of her own life and of her family’s income. The outcome? She becomes the solution to combating gender inequality.
The global statistics on the abuse of girls are numbing. It appears that more girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the battles of the twentieth century. More girls are killed in this routine “gendercide” in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century. | In the nineteenth century, the central moral challenge was slavery. In the twentieth century, it was the battle against totalitarianism. We believe that in this century the paramount moral challenge will be the struggle for gender equality around the world. (xvii)
Many of the stories in this book are wrenching, but keep in mind this central truth: Women aren’t the problem but the solution. The plight of girls is no more a tragedy than an opportunity.
I loved the book, and maybe you will too?
Here is a trailer showing what the book is all about:
It seems that many women (men`s also allowed) are actually raising their voices!
I love working as a psychologist when I am inspired by all of the blogs, books and good people out there.
- Neet’s Sweets: Human trafficking survivor and Entrepreneur bakes to make a difference on May 23, 2012
- Human trafficking along the Grand Strand on May 2, 2012
- Selling the Issue and Not the Person on July 26, 2011
- Half the Sky and Human Rights
- BBB Warning: Door-to-Door Magazine Sales Crews Invade South Charlotte Neighborhoods on May 24, 2011
I’m here, at my hotel room in one of the richest countries in the world, were we try to care about as many people as possible, even the ones who do wrong. Many were stunned by the dignified reactions after 22th of July, where one man killed hundreds of innocent teens for twisted ideological reasons. Most people in our country, got together in every city to pay their respect for the relatives who lost children, and for the political system we live in. We wanted to show that we didn’t react the same way as he did, blaming others that eventually just feeds hate and war.
In norway it’s the norm that you give money to charity, and right now there’s a record in memberships in volunteer organizations. We want to help, and often we do.
But still, there is so much poverty, suffering and unfairness in this word, and sometimes I feel the weight of it on my shoulder. I feel a bit bad for staying in a hotel with a warm bed and safe room, when many in Russia right now are freezing to death. I can go out and buy all the food I need, when so many people right now desperately try to find something to eat, so that their children can live yet another day.
Right now I’m reading nothing to envy by Barbara Demick, that describes the unbelievable, a harsh reality that can be hard to digest. Sweeping misery under the rug, helps us feeling well and comfortable. Many react on unfairness with negative feelings. It feels terrible that there’s so much that should be done, while we go about our life thinking mostly about ourselves or others close to us. It’s scary to think about how much we don’t do, it opens a whole drawer full of other revelations: We’re ignoring suffering around us, feeling there is nothing we can do, feeling helpless and that hope is nowhere near. Some protect themselves by blaming others: political systems, lazy people or bad leaders. Some try to block it out, like looking down when we pass hungry people on the street, and some try to actually do something, so that the feeling (I’m a good person) actually fits with our behavior (doing good). What alternative do you choose? Maybe you don’t have a choice: ‘charity begins with a full stomach’ (from nothing to envy, p. 167)
Helping doesn’t mean that we can’t do things for ourselves also. Actually it’s the other way around, people taking care of their needs, have more energy available for the next of kin, they love to make somebody smile: by donating clothes twice a year, by touching somebody’s shoulder when they look unhappy, or helping a old lady who lose her bag. It’s finding the person who lost their cat, it’s stopping when somebody need a lift, it’s looking people in the eye and offering assistance when you feel somebody need it. With people caring, with media caring it forces political systems to also take caring seriously, those political parties give a good impression, and we want that more today than earlier when we had enough with our own problems.
There is so much we can do, every day, to inspire others, and I promise: Nothing will make you feel better. Be how you think you are, as often as possible.