Why Life is All About ME…and WE!

Is life about Me? Or about We? βš–οΈ

What if it’s Both?Β πŸ€”

There’s an ongoing debate that continues to this day on these very questions: individualism vs collectivism. πŸ€œπŸ€›

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. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”Β πŸ‘€

Collectivism stresses the importance of the group. Social classes. Identity politics. Group activism. The group takes priority before the individual. We before Me.Β As Helen Keller put it: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” πŸ‘₯

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 will continue to for many more to come. 😲

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.Β πŸ–ΌοΈ

🌟 It’s not one OR the other; it’s one AND the other. 🌟

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 affects our lives, right?Β πŸ‘

Think of the 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 aren’t defined by our essential traits, right?Β πŸ‘

Think of us as human beings. We can each share similar traits to each other like our beliefs and values, right? Simultaneously, we can also have individual traits that make us unique, things that will never make us 100% exactly the same as anyone else, right?Β πŸ‘

To clarify, 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 here by saying saying both sides matter. ⚠️

What I am advocating is taking the best of both worlds and integrating them, rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater. ❣️

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 black-and-white terms.

🌟 But the fact is life is not black-and-white. We live in a very complex world. 🌟

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? ✊

But then I went on a journey being introduced to individualism…

πŸ“ I learned the importance of working on my personal growth.

πŸ“ I saw how my sense of self didn’t have to depend upon the labels I associated myself with.

πŸ“ I discovered the benefits of embracing personal responsibility for my life.

A whole new perspective on the world opened up for me! 😲

🌟 I realized I was missing a piece of the puzzle for a long time. I realized life was not as simple as I was making it. 🌟

The way I’ve come to see it now: the better I become for myself, the better I can be for others around me. But it can’t be one without the other. πŸ™Œ

Individualism AND collectivism. 😊

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.Β πŸ’ͺ

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 than about me.

I feel less of a need to blame others for my problems and place all my hopes in the government to change it for me. Sometimes when you want to make changes, the best person to start with is you! πŸ˜‰

🌟 I would not be where I am today or grown the way I have if I didn’t allow the seeds of individualism to come into my life. 🌟

Again, that doesn’t mean I dismiss collectivism! After all, it’s where my perspective initially laid. I still support gay rights. I still support group activism to influence change in our society. Martin Luther King Jr. is an example of an individual who led with a collectivist influence.Β πŸ’‘

But…do you think he could’ve been such an effective leader, accepted all the hatred he did, persisted in a radical non-violence in the face of violence, if he didn’t also take care of himself? πŸ€”

Think of the many great leaders throughout history. They didn’t start like that from birth.Β πŸ“–

Where I see criticisms come in against individualism is primarily toward the individuals who have embraced individualism but forgotten the collective. It’s directed at the individuals who have built up their wealth but have led with a Me-focus over We-focus. Ego-centrism. THEY are the individual ‘1%’ the collective ‘99%’ refer to. The Wolf of Wall Street is an example of such extreme individualism. 🐺

But I can assure you that’s not everyone! ⚠️

I’ve had the privilege to meet some very successful and wealthy individuals in my life. Contrary to the collective narratives around them, they are NOT the malicious caricatures some people make them out to be. 🀑

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 personal wealth, how much more money you could contribute back to the people in your life!Β πŸ‘

Again, this is not 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. 🌬️

The reason I’m able to help more people collectively today is because I’ve put myself first. I’ve taken care of myself. I’ve worked on my personal growth. I’ve molded myself into becoming a better person than I was yesterday. And I still do this every day!Β πŸ’ͺ

🌟 If you’re not good for yourself first, you can’t expect to be good for others. It starts and ends with you. 🌟

Thank you for reading! ❀️

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