15th December 2016
I recently took our dog for a walk. On this particular day I’d left the walk a bit late and the sun was beating down on us. Most of the path is shaded, which makes for a lovely walk. Towards the end of our stroll the remaining path was in the heat of the sun but the opposite footpath was shaded, so I began to cross the road. The dog was having none of it, she pulled and tugged to stay on our regular side of the road. How funny, I thought. The next time we walked I thought I’d try it again and she pulled and huffed and was quite unhappy about the change, trying to get back on the right track. I kept up my experiment for the next few days and after a while she was all over this walking on different paths stuff.
I think the same is true for us humans. We seem to like sticking with what we know. We like to continue on the ‘safe’ or comfortable paths that we have always followed, even if those behaviours are not so good for us. Often these seemingly ‘safe paths’ are handed down from generation to generation. Sometimes we are lucky and life throws us a curve ball, a road block or a too sunny footpath and we choose to cross or are forced to cross the road.
What if, from a very young age, we were encouraged to try new things and to question dogma? What if we let children know that they can create their own paths, that we adults don’t have it all sorted out? What if we taught our children that change is a constant? We need to encourage children to think for themselves. We can have deep discussions with young children and ask them what they think about various topics and issues. I’m with Whitney: “I believe the children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way” but we must also walk the talk. We are their role models.
It is of great importance to provide our children with the skills necessary to navigate the world. To borrow from another great song, thanks to MJ and McCartney, “there is good and bad, in everyone.” I agree. We are all human, none of us perfect, all flawed. I do believe though that there are only two types of people in this world; the evolving and the unevolved. Those who are inwardly focused and those who are outwardly focused. We all start out in the self-focused phase, and possibly return there every now and again, but the majority learn to be functioning, outwardly focused members of society. These emotionally evolved people can form good connections and relationships and make up the moral majority.
For some reason a small percentage remain inwardly focused and in turn cause the world a great deal of pain. Many of these unevolved, emotionally challenged, narcissists gain positions of power in large corporations and governments. It is sad to think what may have happened to them to stifle their normal development and emotional growth. Somewhere in their brain the wiring is misfiring or was never properly connected. More than likely they experienced terrible trauma or neglect and lack in their early lives. They are focused on making themselves feel good through manipulation, control and money. Money makes the world go around, right?
Because they are so inwardly focused they can’t connect to anyone unless that connection benefits them in some way. They see themselves as more important than anyone else. They will joke about how cleverly they ripped someone off to line their own pockets, not realising that the majority would think that abhorrent. They are so far removed from the real world that they think such thievery is being skilled in the art of business, for example, the president-elect boasting about how smart he was to dodge paying taxes. They are dishonest; lying to themselves and others so often they have no idea of what is real and what is BS. They surround themselves with yes people who will stroke their ego. These are the people who run the world. Our culture reveres these people as the epitome of success. How different the history of the world would be if all megalomaniacs had received the help they needed early on in life.
Atrocity after atrocity has been masterminded by such tyrants, yet we still (we being the everyday Joes) we allow it. The leadership paradigm needs to be flipped on its head. In a true democracy the people have the power. Liberty, equality, fraternity. I don’t see that playing out anywhere in the world. I see inequality everywhere. The people do have the power but they just don’t know it. These dictators rely on silencing their victims and on the unquestioning public as a means to their end. They rely on the advertising industry to trick you into needing their goods. They rely on your emotionalatily. They prey on your weaknesses and ego to make you think you need to drive a very expensive car to show your are worthy. The deck is stacked well and truly in their favour and we are the forty hour week pawns they like to toy with.
We say what can we do!? Do your research; make ethical changes. Vote with your most powerful voice; your dollars. This is the language they speak. Speak up always, loud and proud. Start at the grassroots with the everyday control freaks and narcissists you deal with. You cannot make a person change their behaviour, you can only change your own. You must communicate, to the unevolved, how their behaviour affects you. Often, due to their lack of empathy, they will have no idea. Possibly, they will not care, but they can’t know how they’ve affected you if you don’t share that with them. Usually, they will mock you in retaliation; take that as a sign they’ve heard you and they know others have heard you too. If enough people share with them when they have been wronged then maybe they will begin to see a pattern and seek help or change their ways. You always have the right to move away from a person that mistreats you. It is an act of self-preservation and great strength to take the high road and walk away. It may not always be easy to do as they may be your boss or a relative but you do not need to carry out the wishes of self-serving narcissists or put up with disrespect.
So, in keeping with the quick and easy, ‘how to’ culture; here are my thoughts on how to change the world in three (not so) easy steps.
- Do what is right. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Start with you. Make good choices. By your example you will give others the strength and courage to do the same. Question everything and stand up for what is good and just. Vow to never again stand by and watch harm being done to another. Communicate how another’s actions affect you and call them to account.
- Know thyself. Know you are equal to all others. Love and respect yourself because only then can you do that for others. Support yourself, be your own best friend or parent yourself if you missed out on nurturing parents. Speak to yourself lovingly, think positively. You become what you think.
- Share your gifts with the world. Everyone has something special they can share with the world. You are actually doing the world a disservice keeping your talents to yourself; imagine if Da Vinci had never shared! Someone, somewhere, needs what you have to offer. Find like-minded people who will lift you up. Filter advice through a critical lens, is it given from a point of love or bitter envy and control? Be brave and try new things. Keep looking until you find your passion; that which makes your soul sing.
We live in scary times, perhaps we are on the cusp of monumental cultural change. Change is always uncomfortable, just ask our dog. Keep an open mind, look through a different lens. Lean into true respect for our fellow humans and real equality. When we have these we will surely have a changed world.