Nicolae Tanase: Dr. Engel, what is the meaning of life?
Beverly Engel: I believe that the overall meaning of life is to advance and elevate humanity. I believe we are put on this earth to learn to become kinder, more compassionate, and more loving toward one another.
Although we have a long way to go, we as humans have been steadily progressing when it comes to the level of violence, cruelty and prejudice we have acted out on one another. We generally do show our children more respect and we do treat them better than they were treated in past decades. The progress is slow, but these changes are essential on a global scale if we are going to be able to avoid destroying each other and the human race.
Those who are mistreated, abused or deeply shamed as children tend to grow up to treat others in the same way, even when they promise themselves they will treat their children differently. Those who are bullied, ridiculed or dismissed will naturally want to strike out at those who mistreated them. And the cycle continues.
The way out is through compassion for others and for yourself, forgiving others and oneself, and the realization that no one is perfect: we are all a combination of “good” and “bad” We are all capable of hurting others and all capable of great acts of kindness and love.
~Beverly Engel has been a psychotherapist for thirty years, specializing in the areas of abuse recovery, relationships, women’s issues and sexuality. She is also the best-selling author of 20 self-help books, many of which have been featured on national television and radio programs. She is considered one of the world’s leading experts on the issue of emotional abuse, as well as a pioneer on the issue, having written one of the first recovery books on the subject (The Emotionally Abused Woman).
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