Somehow, somewhere along the industrialization of our world we took on a rather self-absorbed and entitled behavior. We tend to live our lives contained in this way of believing that we have a right to whatever could, would, might or definitely should come to us. We victimize ourselves and blame others, our situation, our society, our country, our world for our personal matters if things don’t go our way. When and why did we loose our sense of responsibility for our own lives? If we feel something is wrong, why don’t we stand up tall and go to action and do something about it? Why do we succumb to shrink ourselves and reject the world?
It’s as if we before and in the beginning of the industrialization were so dependent on others, that we took every opportunity to take care of ourselves when we finally got the chance. In Sweden we have an expression ‘Sköt dig själv & Skit i andra’ which translates into ‘Take care of yourselves & sod the others’. Hasn’t this highly individualized life casted a really dark shadow over the most essential parts of what it means to be a human being? We desperately want to become independent and by that we loose our connection to what’s truly important. Ages ago we lived in big families and were surrounded by people who knew us and without a doubt would have helped us if needed. Just as we would them. Without a blink of an eye.
Now we live in big cities, sometimes far from where we were born, raised and where our parents reside. Way back in the day we made a living so we could support our family and community. Now, on the other hand, we are on the hunt for a career, then a house, then the right things to come with the house, and before it’s too late we decide to start a family. As the career parents we are today we decide to embark on the family adventure to become the best parents in the world handing our kids the best possibilities we can give them. So where does that lead us as we have disengaged from our collectiveness?
What it has given us is an even more escalating lack of personal responsibility which is disconnecting us even more so from the most natural thing in life – deep, profound relationships. Why? It doesn’t matter if you look at the big picture of world and national politics or if you look at our personal lives. I think we have become addicts of approval because our world, on every level, now is governed by fear. And as we seek to excel we desperately want to be good enough and so we become pleasers. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to excel in our fields, and there’s nothing wrong with going after a career, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with wanting to be the greatest parent in the world. But if we come from a place of fear and ego wanting to achieve this in order to be loved or accepted, I think we are doing things backwards. Don’t we instead want to go after our desires with the intention and sole purpose to serve the higher good? If we are rooted and centered in ourselves we don’t need the approval of others in order to do good, because we are not then in the need of feedback. But our society today doesn’t yet teach us or able us to grow up as grounded individuals being good enough just the way we are. What our society is teaching us is that we are constantly in the need for something new or something more, and thus not enough in our mere being.
It’s as if we are stuck on this treadmill, unable to get off the pleasing and good-enough-ing. So what do we do about it? We stop! We take a moment, and we take the time to meet ourselves in our darkest hour. We see ourselves for who we are, we recognize the behaviors we have learnt from the fearful world, we recognize our fearful thinking and we decide to choose another way.
Stephen Covey’s book ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’ changed my perspective on independence. He describes personal development in three stages. The first is dependence, the second independence and the third and highest form of being is interdependence. Covey says that it is not until we have learnt to become independent that we can learn to take the next step in personal development. Interdependence means that we are independent, but realize that we can be, do and live better and more fulfilling lives if we share and work together on all levels – society/world, personal and professional. It’s a win-win attitude in going about life.
So what do we need to do in order to get there? I believe it means giving up our ego, and to confront our fears. We have to release all our past conditioning in what it means to rely on and believe in others. We need to learn to have faith. Faith that together we can create something better than we can do on our own no matter if it revolves around our family, work, community, society or the world. I am giving up my independence in order to work for something better, because I honestly believe in what Helen Keller said, ”Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Love, Johanna.Tags: action, blog, collective, dependence, faith, family, fear, fulfilling, independence, interdependence, Johanna Ginstmark, meditation, mindful, politics, responsibility, spirituality, Stephen Covey, The bead movement, world