‘Altruistic individualism’ is the phrase from which I shall contextualize this essay, and what it implies is ‘unselfishly interacting with another by being yourself’. Brilliant concept as far as I’m concerned, but applying it to our everyday lives is another story. Individualism is a reality that permeates both our conscious and subconscious thoughts, and the phrase, ‘It’s all about me’, fittingly describes how we usually lead our lives.
In this world that we are all a part of, a competitive way of thinking is promoted and sustained from nursery school to the time we leave this plane of existence. Success is viewed as the ongoing accumulation of wealth, and our every waking moment is spent on proving how right or better we are than somebody else, and we pay little or no attention to how our actions might affect another. Our focus, for the most part, is on what we call ‘makin money’ or ‘gettin paid’, and this self-centered mindset diminishes our concern for the well being of others.
Let me borrow a portion of the Gestalt Prayer, attributed to the psychotherapist Fritz Perls, to indicate how we might consider viewing our relationships with others.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.
My contention is that, at birth, each of us was divinely endowed with the gift of a unique selfhood. By simply living life we will attain certain strengths, weaknesses, thoughts and aspirations that are common only to us. Each day we spend here is not for adhering to the thoughts and opinions of others, but for the realization of who we are, and how we can use our gift, that is hopefully expanding every day, to achieve the objectives for which we were created.
When we are trying to be our true selves, our paths will inevitably cross with the one(s) who are on the same page at the same time that we are. By coming together as one, we can create the beauty that is inherently present in our diverse yet collaborative mindset(s).
We don’t have to strive and struggle to get together with others in order to make positive changes in this universe of ours. We just need to stay focused on the space we’re in, while constantly attempting to appreciate, honor and sanctify that space. It is in the process of doing so that our competitive nature will naturally subside, and altruistic individualism will be the result of our doing the best we can with what we have.
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