Image thanks to hillary
When you meet new people: you learn from them, and when you learn, you change. Those who think ‘I just am who I am’ in a static sense are either foolish, or keep themselves in a bubble-world, free of challenge and the subsequent growth that challenge brings.
You are improved or worsened (which one is your call) by the interactions that take place between you and the people you meet, and by observing the patterns and habits of those people. If you surround yourself with the right kind of people, you’ll excel – we know that. Equally, though, there is really no such thing as a ‘wrong kind’ of person; we should bestow everyone we meet with the potential to teach and change us (the lesson we take is up to us) otherwise we become obstinate and egotistical, living on face-value and superficiality.
You exist amongst people, and as much as western culture might champion the individual, there is really nothing you can ‘achieve’ in that world of people, without successfully and sustainably interacting with them. Scarily, adopting a ‘me and the crowd’ or ‘me and the others’ mentality is the dark seed of all manner of racist, sexist, bigoted abominations, all the way through history and still today. So isn’t it time we discarded it altogether?
We must believe in people; we must identify with the collective – not in such a way that we let our own, individual voice be drowned out, but in a way that values communication above superiority. Every human being has the potential you do, and you have the potential of all those seemingly ‘higher’ in the world’s pyramid than you.
I’d never be tempted to describe myself as a people person, and perhaps many of you wouldn’t be either, but at our core we all are. We are tribal, familial, compassionate, and in need of each other – but this is that is something all too easy to forget.
It’s okay to like your own company; to be content in your own thoughts; to believe in and love your own being in a self-satisfying way – but you deserve to have the world see all that too. And the world deserves your contribution. In giving compassion, and love, and charity, not only do we like ourselves more, but we contribute to the cycle; we warrant ourselves worthy of the same compassion in return.
Furthermore, consider that this compassion can and should extend beyond those people immediately close to us; it should reach a global scale, even if this merely begins as empathy. It should also extend beyond our species alone, to animals, and to nature, because human beings believing themselves superior to the rest of life on the planet is another significant error in our collective-consciousness (consider that only 0.02-0.03% of all life on earth is human life).
We’ve all been hypocritical, selfish, or egotistical once in our lives – but we can all reject these patterns anytime we like, if we allow ourselves to change. Perhaps the first step to achieving this is to interact with people, to admit previous misconceptions, and to let ourselves be people-people, as well as planet-people.
"I do not think that I will ever say, "This is what I believe. Finished." What I believe is alive...and open to growth." - Madeleine L'Engle
Remember: the world is ours to change, but it is also there to change us.