It’s Not All About You; It’s Not All About Me, Either
We each live in a microcosm of experiences, education, relationships, belief systems, successes and failures. These, among other things, make up our individual worlds. But here’s a shocker: Not everyone’s world is like those whom we live around. They’re not even like those we live with! And in that lies the rub.
It’s not easy to think of our realities as something everyone should be focused on. This is human nature. But unless we are willing to look at others the way God sees them–the way they really are, and why they are the way they are–it is also human nature to divide and compete, just not in a good way.
Wisdom of the Ages: ME + WE = US!
I have made many of the same mistakes as the generations that follow me. I have made great decisions and very poor decisions. There’s even the temptation to say, “If only I knew then what I know now.” But the fact of the matter is, I did. I just didn’t want to pay attention to that wisdom. I wanted to do things my way. Sound familiar? Some things just don’t change. So here I am, passing on wisdom that would have saved me a lot of grief! I’m not telling you what you should do because I know better; I’m sharing with you what I have learned from first-hand experience that proved to be right, in spite of my ignoring the wisdom I was taught.
“Your Liberty To Swing Your Fist Ends Just Where My Nose Begins”
The above quote has been modified in many ways:
- Your rights end where my nose begins.
- Your freedom ends where my nose begins.
- Your freedom ends exactly where my nose begins.
- Your rights end where my rights begin.
- My liberty ends where yours begins.
- What if your rights end where my nose begins.
You might have heard or seen it differently. But the original quote is, “Your liberty to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins.” No one really knows who the author of this quote is. It has been attributed to several “great men,” including: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Zechariah Chafee, Jr., John B. Finch, John Stewart Mill, and Abraham Lincoln. Whoever wrote this maxim doesn’t really matter that much; what matters is the maxim itself, which happens to be chock full of wisdom.
So what does it mean? Well, basically, it alludes to the fact that each of us has rights. Let me repeat that: EACH of us has rights! The guy swinging his fist has the right to express anger, frustration, ill humor. But the person he’s expressing it to has the right of not getting assaulted in the process. To put it another way, when ME supersedes WE, then WE ALL have a problem!
How To Be a WE Instead of a ME
As mentioned above, each of us has our reasons for embracing our own personal world views. A major key is to understand the other person’s point of view. But the Master Key is to understand the other person from God’s point of view. However, that’s just not possible unless you have a close personal relationship with Adonai. So the first solution to breaking away from ME and becoming WE is to invite the Author of Life into your own life. Because it deserves a Gramma Kat Says of its own, I’ll address that in a separate post. In the meantime, here are some points of wisdom to digest:
- Understand that Truth is not relative! God created Truth. So Truth is truth. Anything else is just opinion.
- Understand that others might have personal agendas when they tell you “their truth.” That’s exactly what the serpent did in the Garden of Eden.
- Sometimes the person crying, “Wolf!” is the wolf! Use discretion to tell the difference.
- Generally speaking, the longer you live, the more wisdom you acquire. With discretion, it’s therefore usually a good idea to listen to your elders. Elders don’t have to be immediate family. They just have to be people who have learned how life actually works.
- Ask questions before you throw your fist, or milkshake, or water bottle, or torch, etc. to learn why someone else objects to your opinion. You’ll save yourself and others a great deal of frustration, heartbreak, and endless animosity if you do.
- Be prepared to patiently listen to what you consider nonsense. Then ask the speaker to support their opinions based on evidence.
- Quoting those with personal agendas (news agencies, politicians, radical activists, etc.) is not evidence.
- Know what you’re talking about before engaging in a discussion. That will save each of you a lot of time, energy, credibility, and embarrassment!
- Those with differing opinions are not automatically your enemy. In fact, those people might be trying to save your life!
- Learn to agree to disagree. Except in truly life threatening instances such as stopping a gunman from randomly shooting as many people as he or she can, this buys time for each of you to recognize and appreciate common ground.
- Borders and locked doors protect the people living inside.
- One nation cannot financially support all the nations of the world. Truly, truly I say to you: That math just don’t add up!
- Learn what forgiveness is, and then forgive others for their mistakes. You cannot move forward if you’re stuck in the past.
- Hating someone who embraces God’s Truth is not a reason to disregard God’s Truth. And now we’re back to my first point of wisdom.
Those are just a few things that have proven to create the world where WE and ME can live together. Together these points of wisdom actually work until someone decides to jump outside of the process and straight into confrontation. Well, guess what? That confrontation is not only divisive, it’s where the other person’s nose begins!
We Are The World — Or Are We?
We Are the World isn’t just the title of a 1985 best-selling single by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie; it’s a concept that deserves some thought. While WE do make up the population of God’s children, WE aren’t alone. There’s room for ME in this world. There’s room for YOU in this world. And since God created the world, there’s more than enough room for HIM as well. In fact, without God, it’s a foregone conclusion that this world has no room for peace, harmony, reason, hope, joy, or love. Which is what it takes for ME to become WE. Why? Because HE is the author of all the connectors.