"You don't see the world as it is, you see it as you are."
It's hard to believe, with events like the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian school girls, that humans have infinite potential, infinite #Light...but we do. The catch? We have to see it in ourselves first.
The world can be a cruel and unforgiving place, mainly because the people in it refuse to see the #Light within their gaze. Darkness (difficulty) is created by spiritual blindness, and I'm not talking about religion.
In an attempt to claim agency over what seemed a savage world, early humans drew upon narratives imagining control over that savagery through a created permanence via something larger than the self. Today, we call it religion. A trend that's likely to continue until there are no humans left in the Universe. Why is that? Turns out, it's in our very DNA. Time magazine called it the "God Gene" in 2006. Psychologist Carl Jung called it the "Collective Unconscious." Scholar Joseph Campbell called it the "Hero's Journey." However you slice it, humanity is pre-programmed to believe in a larger purpose: Enter God.
God has been the convenient social excuse of hatred for millennia. Safe to say then that it's humanity, not God, running the show here on Earth. And texts like the Talmud, while certainly portraying a sense of God, focus more on self-responsibility. The Jewish philosopher, Hillel's, famous quote, "If I am not for myself, who will be?" speaks to an expectation that discounts implied social contracts. You can and should ask for help when you need it, as long as you're still doing most of the work. What do I mean? Let's follow the pop culture, shall we???
In 2014, a majority of teens expect their parents to buy them a car when they get their license, something first seen in movies like Say Anything before it became a social norm. Go to any suburban public high school in America and look in the student parking lot. You'll see some damn nice vehicles, most of which were given to a person who has less than 17 years on the planet. Yikes. Not exactly what Hillel was talking about. In reality, it is the individual who is responsible for purchasing their means of transportation; parents are only responsible for the health, safety, and emotional well-being of a child. Believe it or not, that doesn't include a Honda Civic....
Aristotle also had a few things to say about self-responsibility; his thoughts focused on the necessity of selfishness. Not in the sense of buying a Gucci bag while your kids starve kind of selfishness. But the kind of selfish where you first take care of yourself before caring for others. Because when you don't, human nature takes over. Even the most loyal of your friends will not respect you. If you want respect, you have to first respect yourself. And that's where things go awry for many of us:
"How can I respect myself? I'm a bad person."
You are? Think about why you believe that. Is it simply humility? Are you worried about what people will think if you acknowledge your greatness? Or, are you self-sabotaging? In other words, being unnecessarily negative to perpetuate the victimhood you've become comfortable with...ouch.
Very few are truly "bad." People with sociopathic tendencies don't really care about whether or not they are "bad" or "good." Most fall into the second category, self-sabotage. Given the choice of working toward our dreams by forging new, unfamiliar paths or staying in a comfortable environment, we choose comfort/familiarity. We then complain endlessly about how, because of ____ (fill in your own excuse), we'll NEVER achieve that life-goal or dream that would have changed the course of our lives.
And you know what? You're right. You won't. Not if you'd rather remain a despairing victim. Joan Baez said action was the antidote to despair and it is. But victimhood means in-action. And in-action always leads to despair. Because when you do not act on the #Light within yourself, you are not respecting yourself, or, any of the people connected to your world. But when you do decide to see yourself for who you are, see your #Light, others will flock to your side. That's when your ultimate success will happen. And in that moment, you become your own advocate.
The third philosophical question presented by Hillel is finally asked, and answered:
"If not now, when?"
The answer is never. Unless you move toward that goal each day. Even if it's baby steps, you will see a change in yourself, and, the world around you. Allow your #Light to shine, and suddenly, your world becomes brighter. You'll finally see the world as you are. And that's a beautiful thing.
Easier said than done? Nah, it's actually harder (and more painful) to deny your inner #Light than to recognize who you really are. Sure, it means working your ass off to create something from nothing, but you're worth it. And as you go on that long journey, you'll spread #Light to everyone you meet. One by one, you'll make the world a better place.
So, what are you doing for the next 20-40 years??? Seize the day, because for every day you don't, you actually dim your #Light as well as the #Light of this world. Be true to wonderful you. And all that equally wonderful potential you have to offer the world.
Remember your #Light...it's there. Trust me. ;)