Me. You. Us?
So much of our culture shapes us to excel and to focus on ourselves. Whether it is school or family or advertising or sports or work it so often boils down to individual accomplishments and achievement. All of those messages from so many places then create some serious anxiety, fear, and competition. Those messages and their corresponding behaviors unfortunately have created a culture of scarcity, where we behave in some pretty horrible ways to one another because we don’t believe there is enough for everyone, and we need to get all we can for ourselves… Me. Me. Me.
If there isn’t enough, I’d better do whatever I can to get mine. The messages of scarcity, both subtle and overt, are reinforced in systemic ways. As we are realizing today in so many aspects of our lives, this all creates an environment where we more readily dehumanize a person or group of people. We other one another. I have done it. I know what it feels like when people or groups do that to me. Othering makes another person or group of people less than human and it often creates an enemy. And that mindset and behavior lessens our accountability and responsibility to one another. Over there…You. You. You.
In huge ways from multiple aspects of our lives and repeatedly, we have been forced to consider “us.”
It took a pandemic for us to think about health from a global perspective.
It took a Supreme Court decision for us to provide legal protection at work for the LGBT community.
It took the murder of George Floyd for us to collectively demand equity and inclusion.
It seems like we are waking up to our interconnection and responsibility to and for one another. In doing so, we are learning in humbling, painful and hopeful ways that our perspectives and actions are having a profound effect within families, homes, churches, restaurants, communities and companies. People are dying. And, people will live. Because of…Us. Us. Us.
So, I just have to ask, for the sake of all of us…
- What are some of the messages you received about there not being enough for everyone? How have those messages shaped your life?
- Have you been “othered?” What have been some of your survival skills? What do you need today?
- How does a sense of “us” shape your behavior these days? What kind of commitment and change of behavior are you willing to make for the benefit of all of us?