Are you living the kind of life that society is grateful for?
Posted by olakunlesoriyan
I have accepted that the best of relationships can only be defined by the consideration we give to each other. Those who reject this are small minds looking for unavailable space. The consideration we give each other is what allows us to match through our differences. Each of us is from a different background and because of this fact; our thinking pattern will differ in different ways. This is design and it cannot be changed. The silly thing to do is to try to solve a fact. You don’t solve facts; you solve problems and accept facts enough to work around them. The uniqueness and authenticity of human design creates variation. To be shocked at how different others are to you and to negatively react to that difference defines ignorance and narrow-mindedness.
If that is so, our attitudes and behaviors can never be the same, our lifestyles will contradict and be at variance with that of others, people will not always see things the way we do, people will make mistakes just as you make yours, people will irritate you, just as you will irritate others, people will react to situations just as you will do when you are in it. As a matter of fact, people have become who they are due to the influences of their individual experiences. The content of that influence, whether inspiring or harsh, is the governor of the behavior and attitude people display; meaning that no one is self made, we are all products of influences. Everyone’s has a story no matter how they shield it, and each of us is carrying a baggage. It is that story and that baggage that is responsible for what people do and how they behave.
If every human were perfect, every other human being will be unnecessary. It is the incompleteness in the lives of people that defines the relevance of the significant others they allow into their lives. If the person you dislike or the one that irritates you is in himself perfect, you will not even have the opportunity to dislike him or get irritated by him because he will be so perfect, you will be absolutely unnecessary in his life. Tolerance is a precursor to balance and peace, and empathy is the strength of tolerance. When you have the maturity to stay in the shoes of others to experience their world, you will always be in a better position to appreciate their struggles and determine how you can help.
Now, when the human spirit is incapable of defining reality outside his or her own personal experience, his or her own feelings, happiness and pain, he or she becomes automatically incapable of (1) Honest self evaluation and (2) incapable of stepping into other people’s shoes. With these two, empathy is defeated; selfishness, sentiments, bias, and prejudices take the center stage.
The picture I just painted is a major challenge in our environment. Different experiences in the lives of people have conditioned them to accept their selfishness and prejudices above their morality, virtue and essence. So, it is easier to find what I want than to appreciate what others need. This human conditioning has been accommodated for so long, passed down from generation to generation, and has become 2nd nature. So, the abnormal has become the new normal. The zeal to self-preserve and self-actualize has become more important than the need to establish the common good and the collective peace that defines balance in the society.
So beyond my personal experiences or definition of good or pain, I must find within me the character to stay focused and committed to the idea of living the kind of life that society can be grateful for. It means I must always be focused on empowering a world beyond my own, and beyond the one I know. This is the discipline of those we call great men and great souls. It is simply a commitment to the idea that my personal lifestyle can mean a commitment that transcends self.
A nation can only be built when a critical mass understands that only to the extent that I can love, promote and defend that which is greater than my personal life, can the boundaries of truth, legitimacy, citizenship be established. While individuals make society, we cannot continue to justify our refusal to take responsibility for our individual roles in society, by hiding under the excuse of socio economic and political imbalance. We are not citizens because our economy is good. We are citizens because we have been planted in this space and we belong here. The question to always ask ourselves is not about how the economy can be good but about the role we can each play in how the economy can be better. It’s called mission to society. It is easily expressed in how we relate with one another and the investment of time, energy and resources in the environment that binds us together. While the technicalities of making this investment can require a lot of strategic planning, the way we relate with each other can be immediately realized. We cannot be so focused on our need to be productive, and discount the morality, love, respect we owe each other.
A nation that can be so big at the expense of his morality and decency, has already mortgaged its future before the children of the future are born. As a matter of truth, it is the compromise of our morality and decency that created the decadence in our socio-economic and political landscape.
We now need to return home and say to ourselves, we owe each other Love first before any other thing. To ignore this is to discount our humanity as represented by our morality and decency. It doesn’t matter anymore whether you are Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Christian, Muslim, Poor or Rich; what matters is that we are all Nigerians and that we owe our nation the dutifulness that only her people can supply. We each owe the future the decency we can supply today.