Updated: Mar 30, 2020
Because we have made it all about ourselves...
Today, the Coronavirus is upon us full force and for anyone looking to buy toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer or any other related virus prevention stuff, we know that we can’t find it anywhere.
Because for the most part, when something that makes us uncomfortable happens, our first reaction is ‘what about me?’ and we take action to take care of ourselves. It’s a survival instinct from hundreds of thousands of years ago, but in today’s world and even during this pandemic, it’s outdated and now causing more harm than good. We all know that medical professionals and hospitals need supplies to care for others more than we do, but yet we continue to......
This attitude is global and goes way beyond toilet paper and masks. We see it everywhere - on social media, in the news and in our own daily actions, just to name a few. Today, our virtual worlds are lighting up with examples of us highlighting ourselves and our needs while paying less attention to what WE all need as a global community.
The virus scare has only magnified this human condition and unless a significant shift happens, our cultural isolation is only going to get worse. This scare and all the unknowns regarding our safety, security and future now permeating our thoughts and feelings have driven fear to an all time high. In response, we are blaming and physically, emotionally and mentally separating from others at an astronomical and unprecedented rate. Should we let this continue, we may live in a world of separation, segregation, non-inclusion, social hierarchy and polarization like never before. And as we blame others for our fear and unhappiness more than we do now, the most concerning result will be that we lose our ability to give and receive what is most important to all of us at the core – love.
How do I know this?
Because I was this.
Most of my life has been about me. I could bore you with the story of how I grew up that allowed me to be selfish and I could bore you with the thousands of examples of things I said and did to people and things – all in the name of making me happier – that all ended up making me feel less happy.
We all have part of this in us and we all spend a great part of our time and energy distracting ourselves with things to buy, social media, addictions to alcohol, drugs, food, work, business, money, relationships, etc., etc., etc. – all to keep our minds occupied and obsessed – so we don’t have to face what is the most scary – seeing ourselves. Simply put, we avoid seeing ourselves because in one form or another, we don’t like ourselves. A recent 10-day silent meditation retreat taught me this all too well. Two hours in, with only myself as a companion....I would have done anything to get out of there.
There it is. That’s the bottom line of what causes all of our problems and negative emotions in this world. It doesn’t get any more basic or core than that and throughout the history of human beings, we have been dealing with this ‘human condition’ in mostly destructive ways. The conflict of our daily lives - from the silent but incessant chatter of our 60,000 negative thoughts each day - to war and disease and ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ mentality that kills others, this human condition is at the core of most of the thoughts, emotions and actions that cause us to do these things and feel this way.
So here we are at a true crossroads. The state of the world right now is completely unknown – and every person in it is affected. And at the same time, WE are all in the same boat. WE are all the same.
That is the opportunity.
In coming from a ‘same place’, WE can change our thoughts from ‘what about me?’ to ‘what about WE?’ – and the result from that minor but major shift in thought changes our emotions and actions. It transforms the way we feel from anxiety, anger, frustration because our expectations aren’t being met by someone or something else - to the feeling of accomplishment, gratitude, respect and love because of what we thought about or did for someone else. The way we feel goes from disappointed to joyful – all because we shared instead of took. And when enough of us think, feel and act this way – WE all get taken care of.
It’s really that simple.
It only took me 51 years to figure that out and of that, the last 17 have been about personal and professional growth and all the wonderful changes to myself and my life as a result of it. I sit here typing this today living in paradise, being in a loving and mutually respectful relationship with an amazing person inside and out, am free to be me at all times, am creating and implementing ways to change lives all day long, living the life I wanted in so many ways, while having all the stuff I could ever want….and yet, I’m still internally anxious much of the time…
Because for the most part, it is still all about me. This has reduced significantly over the years, but even today I found myself frustrated and scared because I was thinking about losing someone in my life that made me feel good. Well ya know what, they only made me feel good because they were meeting all my self-defined expectations until now.
But in this frustration and insecurity, I luckily asked myself one simple question that changed everything. ‘What about them?’
Then it all shifted. I realized that the very situation that was causing my fear and frustration – was also the best thing for them at this time. Once I realized that and supported what was best for them – complete peace permeated my mind and body.
Complete peace and joy came rushing in. In the end, isn’t that what we are all going for?
Well now we know how to get it. And the reality around us right now is paving the way for us to create it and get it. Today, WE are all the same. Today, WE are all scared. Today, WE all need support and help. Today, WE all need connection and community. Today, WE all need to feel great about ourselves. Today, WE have the opportunity to finally be happier and finally make a difference in ourselves AND the world. Today, WE come together, and WE focus on ‘what about them?’ and when WE all do that, WE have created a Community that all asks, ‘What about WE?’.
And then the world becomes a peaceful place.
That’s the difference WE all can make together, and it starts with ourselves and the question. It starts with us asking the question when we think about someone else. It starts with us asking the question when we feel a certain way about others. It starts with us asking the question when we act with or towards others. It starts with asking the question for each and every thought, feeling and action we have. Over and over.
Think about it..... How would our lives be different if our neighbors were there for us – without us asking? How would our lives be different if we were there for those who didn’t have any hand sanitizer instead of sitting on the 5 bottles we have stockpiled? How would our lives be different if we took a walk and waved and smiled at others who are also trying to be less afraid - instead of saying ‘stay the f*** home’ in our minds and on the internet?
What if we all stayed the f*** home in the first place because it cared for others’ safety, rather than going to the park or the grocery store because we’re bored?
How would our lives be different if we stopped surrendering what we already know is right to the media and stopped blaming government, other countries, other people and others in general? What if instead we asked ourselves, ‘What about WE?’ when we thought of all those people…..going through the same fears that we are going through…..
And ironically, how will our lives be different when we focus on ‘WE’ instead of ‘me’ – and experience that caring for others as part of ourselves - is exactly what makes us feel the BEST about ourselves in the first place….. Interesting....
The time is now.... The world is more than abundant and there is plenty of toilet paper for everyone. So going forward, let's ask ourselves, ‘what about WE?’ – and imagine the possibilities of what ALL of our lives are going to be like when WE do....