Can diving deep into our own family histories help us better understand and be more compassionate to others?
I have been wondering how to write this for awhile now.
Many of us have pride in our heritage, however, many of us never divide deep and see what really lies in the decades and centuries past.
I can trace one of my family lines back to around the 700s in Scotland. I can trace other roots to Sheriffs and Knights in Nottingham, England. I also have relatives from the Azores.
My personal levels of understanding and compassion, however, come from different lines of my family history. I recently stood in Plymouth on The National Day of Mourning, on the side of the Native Americans, and on the side of mother nature. (Water is life.) While there I also walked by a store named after a distant relative who came over on the Mayflower, and who’s son was accused in the Salem witch trails. ( Accused, most likely, for being allied with the Native Abenaki.) I also have Native American Ancestry (Penobscot and Cherokee, perhaps others.)
I am a product of more than one side of history. This has allowed me not to hate anyone group of people, but to examine people’s actions on an individual level. If people in my time are doing things, that harm others, their rights, or mother earth I will stand up to it. I will condone past negative actions of some of my ancestors and praise the ones that tried to be kind and break down boundaries. I hope to do a DNA test some day to explore my ancestry even more.
In short, I believe that if more of us traced, and understood the history and actions of our ancestors, many, if not most of us, would see we are descended from many groups of people and not just the ones passed down by word of mouth. The more we can see how we are interconnected as people, the more we understand and the less hate we bring to the table, and the more compassion we may be capable of the developing.
Understanding ourselves, helps us understand others.
PS. If you’ve ever been interested in family history or DNA test, I implore you to explore them, especially if you find yourself lost in this divided world. You never know what kind of insight you’ll find.