Independence ~ A Lower Life Skill!
If you remain who you are, you will never become who you can be!
A conflict you have not been able to resolve is causing you anxiety and stress. Maybe something in your life is asking you to take a leap of faith, change your perspective and become a better version of yourself.
Will you shut down and stick with what you know, or be willing to open up to new possibilities? Will you defend your existing agenda or search for truth? You have a decision to make!
Your choices and commitment will depend on how you define yourself, your mission in life and what and who you are willing to pay attention to.
Moses & Pharaoh
Children are taught the three-thousand-five-hundred-year-old story of the Israelite Exodus. They learn about two opposing characters; Moses who committed one of the most transcendent actions recorded in history and Pharaoh who committed one of the most heinous.
One brought light to his people whilst a self-proclaimed “god” serving only his own ends brought destruction to his. Moses and Pharaoh lived very different paradigms, each setting into motion events consistent with their respective self-image.
As any despot knows, one short road to power can be to invent the enemy. Like Pharaoh, some people we have met consider themselves self-made. It is mortifying for them to feel indebted to anyone for their successes ~ and especially a God-fearing foreign national (non-Egyptian) like Joseph.
It is written that Pharaoh exclaimed, “... the Children of Israel are more numerous and stronger than we (invented enemy). Come, let us outsmart it (Israel) lest it (Israel) become numerous, and it may be that if a war will occur (invented enemy), it (Israel) may join our enemies, and wage war against us and go up from the land.”
To refer to any person or people as an “it” is to attempt to dehumanize them, defined as the psychological process of demonizing a person or people, making them not worthy of humane treatment. And, once someone allows themselves to view another as morally inferior any perception, description, or narrative they use is OK by them.
This is the core of bullying, oppression, subjugation, slavery, racism and worse.
Independence ~ A Lower Adult Value
In relationships, “independence” is too often lauded by those who have not thought it through as the highest ideal to shoot for. To be independently minded is to know and get what you want, isn’t it? The Frank Sinatra syndrome of “I did it my way” where other people conform ~ or suffer. But this personal characteristic of choice all too often displays itself as “lack of consideration” for others?
For example, a person arrives home late without forward notification attacking their anxious family for being “controlling.” Their sense of personal ‘space’ prevails. They repeatedly behave from within their own comfort zone. They make independent decisions without consideration of anyone else since they never take the time to seek another’s point of view, even when that someone cares about them. They rarely listen to another’s opinions or feelings as they are "not worthy of consideration". They are Independent and proud of it!
Inter-dependence ~ A Higher Adult Value
Back to the Biblical story. The first time we meet Moses as a young adult is as a “Prince of Egypt.” When walking in the streets of the capital ~ Memphis ~ he witnesses suffering all around him. And, when he sees a taskmaster viciously beating a slave, he defends him at the cost of the taskmaster’s life.
Fleeing for his own safety, he arrives at Midian and, seeing a group of women being tormented by shepherds, goes to their rescue, too. While Moses must have been acutely aware of his now impoverished exile ~ prince to refugee ~ he always pays attention to those around him. Such awareness was not so common then and remains not so common in this 21st century!
We read that Moses was an imperfect man and made many mistakes. Yet, he made a point of paying attention to those around him. To be willing to enter another’s ‘territory’. And, by so doing allowed himself to become the best he could become. He became Inter-dependent!
Everything in life cries out for our attention. And, this is our challenge. To be inter-dependent means constantly paying attention to people and our surroundings and never growing numb to the not-so-good news that crowds our psyche each day. The annoying co-worker, the incessant barking of the neighbour’s dog, granny Annies' constant chatter, climate change, environmental pollution, natural and man-made disasters, crime on the streets. To become inter-dependent, to be our Best Self, we must be willing to un-learn to learn.
Learning to remain aware of your surroundings, to pay attention is challenging but do-able and ultimately self-fulfilling. Does this mean you have to be the white-knight in every situation? That you spend your entire life doing what other people want? Of course not!
But if you choose to remain self-centred, if you entirely shut off, if you fail to pay attention to the plight of others, “You miss information about the nature of life, miss chances to have your heart opened, miss learning what your impact on others might be. … Small issues that could have been resolved early on grow until they blow up. People don’t like having their pain overlooked.” Dr Rick Hanson, Neursocientist
Moses kept himself ready to serve in the moment. He paid attention. Whether it was finding a lost sheep, helping someone in need or saving an entire nation he lived the call of, “Here I am”. By becoming inter-dependent, he gained everything! In contrast, Pharaoh’s independence ultimately gained him nothing at all.
The moments of your life ask you to response. What will you do?
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Complicated IS Easy! Simple IS Hard!