Just Plain Human
Surrounded by increasing division and insanity in the world, it is easy to lose track of the fact that, as humans, we are all much more alike than we ever are different. Our egos want certain things to be in a certain order so that our world makes sense to us. We buy into stories, beliefs, thoughts of what should or shouldn't be, ideas about other people or groups of people, and then seek and find evidence to support our own beliefs. The ego looks to define itself as distinct and significant, thus finding ways to draw lines and divisions between "me" and other people.
Stepping back for a moment and paying attention to our own inner workings and the commonalities of the human condition, we start to notice and appreciate certain truths. In my practice and observation I have found that for all humans, regardless of ethnicity, faith tradition, nationality, economic status, size, shape, age, or whatever else we use to separate "me" from "her" or "him," there are four basic components that we as humans all want, and I daresay, at least to some degree, need.
1. Safety - Everyone wants to be safe. No one wants to be in harm's way. To be unsure of one's own safety invites a position of fear, and living in fear mode leads to stress, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, and multiple types of physical illness. This seems obvious, but think of the subtleties this could represent. If your job is unsure, you are having financial difficulties, your relationship is unstable, or if you were traumatized at some point in life (as we all are in our own way), your brain may still perceives your safety to be in danger, and kick into fight or flight mode. You may be fearful about your safety and not even know it. Choose gratitude for what you do have and for the many things you don't. If you need help, seek help. Make choices that serve your best interest, and choose a path of non-harming for yourself and others. Take the best possible care of you. You deserve no less.
2. Health - No one wants to be ill or in pain. But what is health? The World Health Organization from 1947 to present day defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." You may think you are healthy because you exercise, eat healthy, or take no medications. But how is your stress level, your sleep quality, your mental clarity? How are your relationships? How do you cope in times of difficulty? On the flip side, even if you do require medications or have physical ailments, you may be quite healthy overall. Expand your definition of health and see where you fall. You may be surprised. See where you need work, and choose to improve what you can, and accept what you cannot, fully and deeply. Heal old traumas and wounds in the context of the life you are living without sweeping them under the rug, and feel your life transform.
3. Connection - Everyone needs love. It is what we are made of. Research has shown time and again the multitude of health benefits that result from long-term, stable relationships. Having social support and assistance is associated with improved outcomes after surgery and with other types of medical conditions. The importance of authentic human connection cannot be overstated. Consider that before authentic connection can occur, you must invest in self-awareness and self-love. Only when you deeply and truly love yourself can you offer that to another. Give from a place of authentic desire, not from a place of obligation and resentment. Be you, and offer the real you to someone else. Love who you love, and receive love in ways that honor and empower you. Let go of "love" that diminishes or wounds you (this isn't real love). Receive people as they are, not as you desire them to be. Be vulnerable and share your weirdest, goofiest self with those with whom you feel safe to do so. See how things shift.
4. Meaning/Purpose - No one wants to be lying on her or his death bed feeling like life was a complete waste of time and effort. Find what is meaningful for you. Live a life that is true for you, not the one others want or expect for you. Feel what you feel, recognize your own beauty, and allow yourself to be an imperfect human. The world is full of angry people following a path that isn't true for them. Don't join their club. Be unique. Be real. Be you. The world wants and needs no less from you.
Whoever you are, wherever you live, and whatever your shape, size, color, or position in life, know you are perfect just as you are, flaws and all. Don't ever apologize for being you. Be kind, generous, and forgiving. Be compassionate, and seek to understand the viewpoints of others, especially those with whom you disagree. Wish all that you meet a life of safety, good health, authentic connection, and deep meaning and purpose. Wish the same for yourself. Work to make these four fundamental needs a reality for all people everywhere. Choose love, gratitude, and compassion. Recognize and let go of fear, craving, and judgment. Be just plain human and let nature take its course.
That is all for now...Thank you.