Transitioning from 'Me' to 'We' - An Act of Community Care [Intro]
To start, I am new to writing blogs, but I never enjoyed reading blogs, so the act itself feels hypocritical... Stickin' with it, none the less.
I am here to share thoughts and questions to spark your own existential consideration - notice how your body and emotions respond, and use that to inform your state of being/understanding.
Finally, I acknowledge I am writing this from a place of privilege, and am intrinsically writing towards a privileged audience.
Transitioning from 'Me' to 'We" - An act of community care.
When was it ever truly about you?
Hopefully, at least when you were a baby; probably also when you were a toddler, and even a young child. About the time you blossomed into a gawky teenager you probably started to realize that there were broader needs than your own - those of your friends and, potentially, your family.
As human brains grow and develop, around 22-28 years old, the frontal lobe of your brain starts to make connections - bridging the gap between thoughts of function and thoughts of expansion. Typically, as this happens, people develop a broader view of the world around them, starting to become aware of the needs of other people, noticing the direct impacts their actions have on the wellbeing of others.
Do you still notice the impact you have on other people?
When we receive feedback of any kind, it makes us feel something. When you are praised for outstanding work, you feel a variant of 'good'. And, when you are criticized, you likely feel a variant of 'bad'. Where we start to get lost in the sauce, so to speak, is when we loose touch with the message of the feedback.
Empathetic people, known on the internet as 'empaths', feel everything - details of each interaction are perceived as direct feedback, subjecting the person to the tumultuous waves of daily ups and downs. One second, riding high from the smile of gratitude from the barista, the next, wallowing in deep doubt from an unanticipated honk while navigating traffic.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are the folks who literally couldn't be bothered by their impact on others, let alone the corresponding feedback - galivanting day to day unabashedly proceeding with their tasks.
How do you prioritize your needs?
Seriously, how do you? Everyone has a different method, strategy or plan to take care of themselves and their family. If our basic needs are not met, we find ourselves of little use to anyone else. We typically know what we prefer to have in life, and what we are accustomed to having - settling into patterns of getting our needs met. Occasionally, we are presented with an opportunity to fulfil a want in addition to our needs, such as a down payment for a new car as a result of a workplace bonus. Can you *pause* and parse out what you truly, fundamentally need, and what you clearly, consistently want?
ps. it's okay, good, healthy, etc. to have wants that are different from your needs.
How do you prioritize your wants?
Most recognizable is the idea of preparing for a birthday - especially as a child; making a list, considering beyond the day to day what you want or would like to receive. It could be tangible things or broader experiences, but we do know how to seek what we want. *And that's okay!* Where it can get a little muddled is when we receive our wants so consistently that they feel like needs. One of the ways this shows up personally, is wanting to purchase and eat organic food, when ultimately my fundamental need is to be fed and nourished. Where in your habits and tendencies do you find your wants becoming needs?
I ask you all of this because, in your existential understanding (almost typed uncertainty...), needs and wants tend to blur, and we can find ourselves either tromping through life after wants as though they were needs, or allowing needs to go unheeded as though they were wants. I am confident in your ability (or at least awareness) to get your own needs/wants met, even if it is an ebb and flow.
Do you notice other people's needs?
Returning to the idea of feedback and perception, where do you fall on the spectrum when it comes to recognizing *other people's* needs? Are you so sensitive to feedback/other people that you are painstakingly aware of when someone's needs aren't met, to the detriment of your own? Or do you take the last roasted chicken in the grocery store, unaware of the family behind you? Probably, you fall somewhere in the middle - perceptive enough to know when your want is interfering with someone else's need, yet know how to ask for what you need, regardless of the response.
To The Point...
You, as a human, as an individual, as a member of a community, have needs that need to be met - this is your 'me' mentality. As an individual with abstract thought (the frontal lobe bit), you know other people have needs, though not your responsibility. And though you are part of a community, it takes practice to shift from consistent 'me' to a more considerate 'we'.
We each get to practice noticing when our perceived needs are really just wants.
Then we take that further, to be open to the feedback of how our wants are impeding the needs of others.
Ultimately making the shift from 'me' to 'we'.
Thank you for being here, diving a bit deeper and peering behind the curtain. Over the next couple weeks, I will continue to explore the concepts presented here to expand your own understanding of self and community, as well as provide opportunities to shift your daily practices towards the 'we'.
I tell you as I tell myself.
Until next time,