I have been reflecting a lot about this. I guess it is a natural reflection when your life has gone through so many changes.
Having moved countries again a couple of years back, I went through a lot of adjusting, a lot of diving into different cultures, dynamics, a lot of introducing myself and receiving introductions from other human beings. And this takes tons of openness, curiosity, and definitely leads to reflection.
This is when this subject stroke me: when did a collection of society conventions became the plot to introducing who you are? Why can’t we just say something like: I am a human being who loves to learn more about the world, about other human beings… who loves connecting with others. In fact, it is not even just a matter of loving it, I believe I need to have strong connections that will help me go through life.
Where did we, humans, who have always needed community to fight for survival, decided that showing our vulnerabilities may not be a good idea?… we have never been so connected, yet, we have never been so alone. We are alone, because unless we ready to recite a full list of expected “credentials” to the world – such as marital status, children, study credentials, work titles and career achievements, travels and so on… – then the conversation may just become awkward. It has gotten to the point where amazing people will refuse to attend a reunion, because when looked at from this set of measurements, they will be considered “failures”. What a shame!
What are true victories? Are people who “measure up” to this criteria the ones who have built the best world for themselves and for those around them? Where is the scoreboard for the most basic and intimate struggles that people win day after day, after day?
To be frank, I am sick and tired of sameness in conversation. I am bored by the masks that people wear and can never take off, so that they can look “appropriate” in the eyes of society, many times myself included, by the way… the need to be adequate, to be included will definitely trigger this behaviour. Now… is this the best path towards building happiness and making the world a better place?
While I am sitting in this reunion and hear about more and more of the same, I can’t help but wonder what amazing conversations I could be having if I was hearing the stories that truly make us the human beings we are. Things we love, and don’t, what we struggle with, what our shadows or challenges are, what we do to bring light to them, the times we laughed about ourselves…. stories about communities, about the world, metaphors, jokes… about memories that arise when we hear a song… thus, just letting out the good the bad and the ugly, and being curious to see the same in others.
Each of us are our greatest parts, our worst parts, all that, and a lot more than that! Why is it so hard for us to stop idealizing ourselves and others and demanding that we are always the impeccable humans? Why do we continue to seek for utopia?
When are we going to trade fancy suits by clothes that express who we truly are? Make-up for the beauty of the learning that our scars have brought? Business cards listing titles for great smiles and deep, deep eye contact? Glitter for shedding light for someone in need? Fancy cars for extending your hand when someone needs support along the path? Home improvement for self-improvement? MBA’s for mastering the art of being the best we can be? Climbing the corporate ladder for climbing mountains? Helping huge corporations to build bigger empires for helping communities to build a better world?
And… yes…. we can have it all! If you enjoy the glitter, the title, the car and the suit… if this energizes you, then go for it! Just remember to bring along your light, your best self, your helping hand, your true self.
How long will we keep pretending to ourselves that collecting things make us happy? Where is this going to lead us? Where is this going to leave the world?
In a way, I am happy to see that the Millennials seem to have a bit of a different view about what truly brings happiness and makes the world a better place… but, again, so did the Hippies, in a more naive way, though… and look where we are now…
So, let’s hope that this generation can trigger a change, but let’s also act, let’s insist in whatever it is that we believe can bring the best results, and our world shall continue to get better.
I guess I woke-up idealistic today. Thank you for sharing this moment with me!
Would love to hear your thoughts about all this.