Alphabet Series - I is for I
I think, I feel, I want, I will, I won’t, I, I, I. I have a friend who tells me that it's all about him. But, you know, it really is all about you. Or, in my case, it's all about me. Even when I say it's about you, I am saying that and it is my perspective so once again it's all about me. Even when it isn’t.
But what about we and us? Isn’t it also all about us? Some years ago I went to a workshop where the facilitator had us close our eyes and silently say to ourselves: “The one.” Then we opened our eyes and looked out at the rest of the people in the group and said: “The many.” Then we closed our eyes and said: “The one.” Then we opened and said: “The many.” We did this a few times until the facilitator had us close our eyes and say: “The many” and then open our eyes and look out at the group and say: “The one.” We went back and forth that way until it sunk in that we are the one and the many and so is everyone else.
So it is all about me, you and us while at the same time just being about you (or in my case, me). Baby Boomers have been called the Me Generation because more so than our parents we are self-absorbed. Yet however much we baby boomers pay attention to ourselves we don’t take multiple selfies a day and share pictures of the food we are eating. Well, not as much as our kids do. But, we did mushroom the beauty and health club industry.
Since we all wake up with ourselves and spend the day with ourselves it is hard not to be more aware of what is happening to and within us than to take into full account what is happening around us. Certainly people like to know what others are doing. Whether you are looking at other people’s posts of their day or reading or watching the news and the fake news, we all balance out our own interests and those of others.
I was taught in graduate school this simple framework:
I –Thou –We
When it comes to your relationship with others, it can help to consider what you are thinking/feeling/doing as well as what the other is thinking/feeling/doing. And sometimes it can be helpful to think what is the best thing to do right now for the relationship. Not just for yourself. Or the other.
I do believe when you are taking care of yourself you are (mostly) taking care of the other and the relationship you share. If you can zoom out and look at people/places/things in terms of your relationship with them and what is in the best interest of the overall relationship it ought to make you feel better, the other feel better and the relationship feel better. Yet, sometimes when we do get self-absorbed we lose track of how our behavior is affecting those we love. We will hear about it soon enough, but in the meantime it does help to take a look outwards and see how your world is responding to you and you to it.
So, while I, I, I is a very prevalent way of being in our culture, you might want to consider that the better care you provide others and the world that holds you, the better off you also will be. You can put you first, by putting others first. Or so say I.