Why Life is All About ME…and WE!

Is life about Me or about We? What if it’s Both?ย ๐Ÿค”
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There’s the ongoing debate that continues on to this day that asks these very questions: individualism vs collectivism.
๐Ÿคœ๐Ÿค›
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Individualism stresses the importance of one’s self. Independence. Self-reliance. One’s uniqueness in contrast to others. The individual takes priority before the group. Me before We.ย ๐Ÿ‘ค
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Collectivism stresses the importance of the group: Social classes. Identity politics. Group activism. The group takes priority before the individual. We before Me.ย ๐Ÿ‘ฅ
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In our current political climate, these very questions are at an all-time high. Again, this debate has gone on for centuries. But I predict it may unfortunately for many more to come.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฒ
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Why? Because many people continue to see these viewpoints as mutually exclusive. Black or White. Us or Them. One or the Other. It’s a plethora of false dichotomies. We’re missing the bigger picture.ย ๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ
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๐ŸŒŸย It’s not one OR the other; it’s one AND the other.ย ๐ŸŒŸ
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Think of the Nature vs. Nurture debate. We are all born with genetic and biological traits that affect our lives, right? Simultaneously, we are also exposed to an environment which also affects our lives, right?ย ๐Ÿ‘
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Think of the philosophical Essentialism vs. Existentialism debate. We are born with essential traits which make us human, right? Simultaneously, we also have the power to make choices so we can define our futures, right?ย ๐Ÿ‘
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Think of us as human beings. We can share similar traits to each other like our beliefs, values, and interests, right? Simultaneously, we can also have traits that make us unique, things that will never make any of us 100% exactly the same, right?ย ๐Ÿ‘
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I’m not saying each side is equal or equivalent to each other. I’m not saying it’s 50-50 between the sides. I’m not trying to be Mr. Nice Guy by saying both sides matter. What I am saying is about taking the best of both worlds and integrating them, rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater.ย โฃ๏ธ
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As I’ve shared in previous writings, it’s in our nature to generalize and group things. We want to make sense of this world so it’s naturally easier to see things in more black-and-white terms.
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๐ŸŒŸย But the fact is life is not black-and-white. We live in a very complex world.ย ๐ŸŒŸ
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For a while I use to associate myself far more with the ideas of collectivism. Being a gay male, I was passionate about fighting for gay rights and equality. I was against what I saw as the ‘1%’: the corrupt people in government taking people’s money and paying themselves with million-dollar bonuses. As a group, we could fight “against the establishment”, right?ย ๐Ÿ˜ก
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But then I went on a journey being introduced to individualism. I saw the importance of working on my personal growth. I saw that my individuality did not have to be dependent on who I associated myself with. I saw the benefits of embracing personal responsibility for my life. A whole new perspective on the world opened up for me.ย ๐Ÿ˜ฒ
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๐ŸŒŸย I realized I was missing a piece of the puzzle for a long time. I realized life is not so simple as I thought it was.ย ๐ŸŒŸ
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The way I’ve come to see it now: the better I become for myself, the better I can be for others around me. Individualism AND collectivism.ย ๐Ÿ˜Š
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These days, if someone doesn’t accept me for who I am, I’ve developed enough self-love and confidence within myself to not let their opinions control me.ย ๐Ÿ’ช
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If someone discriminates against me, I no longer take it as a personal attack but rather as an acknowledgement it’s more a reflection on who they are as a person than about me. I feel less of a need to blame others for my problems and place all my hopes in the government changing it for me.ย ๐Ÿ‘
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๐ŸŒŸย I would not be where I am today or grown the way I have if I didn’t let the seeds of individualism come into my life.ย ๐ŸŒŸ
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Again, that doesn’t mean I dismiss collectivism! After all, it’s where my perspective initially started. I still support gay rights. I am still for group activism to influence change in our society. Martin Luther King Jr. is a fine example of an individual who led with a collectivist influence.ย ๐Ÿ’‘
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But do you think he could’ve been such an effective leader, accepting the hatred he received, his radical insistence towards non-violence in the face of violence, if he didn’t also take care of himself? Think of the other many great leaders in our history. They didn’t start like that from birth.ย ๐Ÿ“–
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Where I see criticisms come in against individualism is primarily towards the ones who have embraced individualism but forgotten the collective. They have built their wealth but it’s always been about Me for them. Ego-centrism. They are the individual ‘1%’ the collective ‘99%’ refer to. The Wolf of Wall Street is an example of such extreme individualism.ย ๐Ÿบ
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But I can assure you that’s not everyone. I’ve had the privilege to meet some very successful and wealthy individuals. They are not the caricatures some people have made them out to be.ย ๐Ÿคก
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Did you know some of the biggest philanthropists in the world are also some of the wealthiest people in the world? Think if you built up your own wealth how much more money you could contribute back to the world!ย ๐Ÿ‘
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Again, I’m not saying to dismiss collectivism. What I’m saying is putting the oxygen mask on yourself before placing it on the person next to you. Individualism, THEN Collectivism.ย ๐ŸŒฌ๏ธ
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The reason I’m able to help more people collectively today is because I put myself first. I took care of myself. I worked on my personal growth. I molded myself into becoming a better person than I was yesterday. And I still do this every day!ย ๐Ÿ’ช
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๐ŸŒŸย If you’re not good for yourself first, you can’t expect to be good for others. It starts and ends with you.ย ๐ŸŒŸ
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This post went longer than I expected! If you made it this far, I really appreciate you taking the time to read! You are awesome!ย โค๏ธ#TranscendLabels

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