In memory to my former Sunday School teacher Ms. Cicely Brown and Nelson Mandela freedom fighter - two people from a different time and space who knew and exercised the power of 'we'.
If you really think about it, there's so much about how we live today that is focused on 'me'. I touched on how being 'me-centred' can end a relationship in '6 Things Relationship Gurus Don't Tell You', but this topic is worth some more Straight Talk.
Seems to me that we humans need each other; that it's natural for people to need people. We're born into families, we make friends, we go to school in classes, we work with colleagues, we worship in congregations, we govern through organisations, we live in communities. What we are and what we do is about people. So how come we make so many decisions without considering other people and how it will impact on them? I'll tell you how come.
1. We don't really 'Get' what Love means
We use the 'l' word so much for everything from how we feel about a piece of chocolate, or a pair of shoes to how we feel about our first born. We do this without realising that love isn't just a feeling, it's a decision - more on that in another post.
2. We're blind to the true success Harmony creates
We get busy working towards our own achievements and making a name for ourselves. Really, what's happening is that we want to revered in our peer group, seen as better than the others. Can you blame us, sometimes being just one of the others can be boring right? And after all we are still individuals. But when we constantly have to be 'one up' on other people, we create unnecessary rivalries and imaginary differences. Seems that as much as we humans need each other, harmony, working beautifully together in spite of our differences, seems like an alien concept.
3. Having Compassion makes you look stupid
Unless of course you're getting good PR. Compassion is fine once we're being photographed and captioned as the 'cheerful giver'. But step away from the cameras and the concept of caring for others in need is pretty stupid, seeing as how we have enough of our own problems.
4. We've forgotten the 'golden rule'
Remember, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'? Ring a bell? I know I had to memorise this rule and recite it as a child. The premise couldn't be more straight forward, you would want people to do good to you so do good to people. It's supposed to be one of those simple guides to help us make better decisions. I don't know about you, but maybe the golden rule is just too simple to remember because while I was hurting people I forgot all about it.
5. We're oh so self-righteous
In any given situation we can see clearly all the reasons why 'I am right' which of course makes 'you wrong' or why 'the way I do things is better' which means 'your way is not good enough'. Ignoring an overall point of view in favour of being 'right' causes conflict, whether we choose to be aware of it or not. It's good to have our principles, but it's even better to take a look in the mirror and recognise that the thing we share with other humans is imperfection. We are all wrong sometimes.
My point in all of this is that we won't know how to make good decisions unless we exercise true love, compassion and self-sacrifice. This is not a new concept, in fact it's pretty old, centuries and centuries old and key to many religions. But sometimes we just don't get it until we've messed up one time too many, then the light bulb goes off and we connect the dots: "Hey sometimes 'me' is not enough, other people make my life more important too!"